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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Getting Involved Part II

Getting Involved in Clubs/Organizations at AU!

Despite the popular belief, there is more to AU than academics. AU’s campus provides you with numerous opportunities to get involved with various on-campus clubs and organizations. Specifically, AU has over 200 student-led organizations that offer knowledge and experience in just about any field/major/topic that students are passionate about. Below are several reasons why joining student organizations or clubs could be beneficial to you:

1)      It allows you to build a sense of community on AU’s campus. Joining student organizations and clubs allows you to meet and make new friends with the same/similar interests. In addition, those who join student organizations/clubs are less likely to miss their family & friends in comparison to those who don’t join any clubs.
2)      It allows you to connect with AU. Being involved in organizations on AU’s campus will help you seek out the various resources that AU has to offer.
3)      It’s a resume builder. Showing that you’re involved in clubs on campus looks great on resumes and applications when you apply for jobs/internships. Even as a freshman, it is never too early to begin thinking about how to position yourself for future employment.
4)      It allows you to explore your interests. Clubs and student organizations give you the opportunity to discover (in more depth) what fields of studies and majors you are interested in. It also allows you to discover what you don’t like as well.

There are various ways in which students can be informed about AU’s clubs and student organizations. The most convenient way to learn about campus clubs is by conversing with other students. By talking to other students in your classes and on campus, you will not only learn about the organizations and clubs they are a part of, but you will also get the opportunity to learn about the mission and goals of certain organizations. Another way to learn about campus organizations is by visiting the AU’s Student Activities Website. This website provides you with the list of clubs and organizations offered at AU. One other way to be informed is by attending club fairs (usually hosted at the beginning of the semester) and other events which allow students to get to know certain organizations on campus. Today@AU, American University's Washington DC publication for campus news, usually posts information about club events and fairs as well. Lastly, you can always ask one of your peer advisors about how to join certain clubs and organizations. We would be more than happy to help you get involved at AU!

Getting Involved with Volunteering!

American University has a big emphasis on internships and volunteering for supplementing academic work with real life experience. A volunteer position can often be somewhat less competitive to attain and can still give you the same, credible experience that graduate schools and future employers will look for. While it can be a time committment and is unpaid, volunteering in your field of study is worth your time.

  • Volunteering,  like internships are usually best to start once you have gotten your feet grounded at school with your classes and time management. Starting around your sophomore year is a good timeline unless you feel ready your second semester freshman year.
  • While time management is often a concern for any college student, volunteering can be a great option with flexible part time hours depending on your placement.
  • The AU Career Center is great with offering resume and cover letter revisions, interview practice, and helping you find a place you would like to volunteer.
  • Volunteering is somewhat unlike internships in that it can be valuable even if it is not directly in your field of study. For example, a Communications major volunteering at a need based school can still develop other skills that will be needed for future classes and beyond graduation - don't let "unrelated" opportunities deter you!
  • Volunteer positions are a great way to determine whether you like a certain field or not before committing any more time and energy to it.
  • Where to start looking? Contact your AU Career Center advisor, get in touch with professors and departments who may be in the field of your volunteer placement to get more networking information, or log on to AU Career Web to look for full time and part time opportunities.
And remember - it's never too early to start getting involved! Try to take advantage of all of the great opportunities that this city has to offer. You will be glad you did as you progress through college and apply to graduate programs or other full time jobs!

As always, if you have any questions you can contact your peer advisors at CASPeerAdvisors@american.edu or stop by their office Battelle 164.

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