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Activities Night advice

, , , and | Monday, August 31, 2015

activities-night-web-finalSusan Zhu | The Observer

With Activities Night tomorrow night, we asked our staff what kind of advice they would give to their first-year colleagues, or even if they could go back in time and give advice to their first-year selves.


Notre Dame students are notoriously overinvolved in extracurricular activities; the admissions office likes to tout statistics that confirm this fact: in the class of 2019, 50 percent were involved in the fine arts, 35 percent headed a student organization and 45 percent were varsity sport captains. Activities Night is a great opportunity to become involved in things about which you’re passionate. For me, writing for The Observer and hosting a radio show on WVFI have been great outlets for my creative energies. But what fewer people will tell you (but they probably should): it’s fine, and probably healthier, to have free time! Allow yourself a few hours each week to read for pleasure, watch films, listen to music, go for a run, have conversations with interesting people and catch up on sleep. Being busy is not a competition and your self-worth is not connected to your resume, even if often seems that way here. Devote yourself to a few activities that interest you, but not at the expense of your mental health and well-being.


Activities Night can be hectic, crowded and overall, a bit of a drag, but it’s still an important night. The best advice anyone can give is to approach the night with an open mind and to step out of your comfort zone.  College is the time for trying all those things you have always wanted to try but never had the means, resources or time to do.  From writing for Scene (Come say hi to us!) to the Swing Club, Notre Dame has at least one club for every passion, interest or love that’s out there.  So sign up for the emails, go to the first meeting and at some point during the year you will realize how lucky you are to have all these wonderful resources at your fingertips. Yet, at time same time, make sure you’re not just signing up for things solely for the sake of filling a resume. Time is valuable — don’t waste yours with activities you’re not truly interested in.


Activities Night. A night filled with seemingly endless opportunities for a life outside of the classroom. So many new avenues to venture forward and explore what the unique student body here at Notre Dame has to offer. The prospect of all of the various clubs and activities one can be part of might be a bit too big — overwhelming even. Some might be deterred by the prospect of all the time commitments that come with all of the clubs, and may end up signing up for none. My advice: don’t hesitate to sign up for whatever you want. Some clubs may stick, some may not — that’s just how it works. The important thing is you explore what you’re truly passionate about and learn more about yourself through your extracurricular activities. No matter if you’re a freshman or a senior, it’s never too late to try out something new. Also — goes without saying — I would have signed up for The Observer as soon as I could. 


Upon starting my journey at Notre Dame, I took a few moments to reflect on my high school experience. My busy, rigorous and somewhat constricted schedule allotted me zero time to explore my passions. People implicate passion into their questions regarding majors and careers all the time, right? Then why did I have no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up? When I went to Activities Night last year, I hadn’t a clue of where to begin asking questions. Despite its hectic environment, however, Activities Night’s organized chaos introduces clubs relatable to any and all students at Notre Dame. Wish to polish your break dancing skills? Join Project Fresh.  Have any desire to serve the community? There are plenty of options! If you have the slightest inkling to check out a club or sport, go for it. If not for Activities Night, I would not have dabbled in writing. Most, if not all, will attest to the friendliness of the Notre Dame community and the importance of taking part in it. Use Activities Night as a tool to discover your likes, dislikes and passions. If nothing else, attend for the free candy.


If I could go back to fresh-me on Activities Night, I think I’d approved of my reckless abandon in giving out my e-mail address to every single club. You can get off the listserv later, but it’s fun to be in the know for the activities of many different clubs. That way you can find out if the meeting times, activities and general club culture work for you. However, in a few weeks I would be very unsatisfied with the lack of follow-up with each club. Use Activities Night to get excited and get a little taste of everything, but be sure to pick one or two groups that really stand out to you and commit to them for the rest of the semester. Also, the crowd will be extremely slow-moving, so navigate with a buddy so you’re not bored between tables.

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