I hope everyone had a restful Reading Week, whether it was productive or not! We are more than halfway through this term so keep your head up and get ready to appreciate the longer daylight hours we have! This week, I’m writing about something that keeps me motivated throughout the term: community. More specifically, the community I have found through my extracurricular activities.
I have mentioned before that the engineering community here at U of T is very strong. We have many spirit events and ways to get students engaged outside of academics. For me, I’m interested in sustainability, writing, and media, which is what I chose to focus on for my clubs.
However, there are hundreds of clubs available to get involved outside of engineering, and it’s never too late to join one! The second semester, for me, has been a time of reflection for my goals and academics. While winter is still here, you may feel isolated on campus. By joining a club, attending events, or getting involved, that may help you find your community, which I wrote some tips about the last term.
I find this involvement helps me find balance with my schoolwork, which is a great side effect! They give me something to look forward to getting my mind off of challenging course material. As much as I like my academic courses, working on other projects allows me to expand my other skills, including leadership, teamwork, and time management. Surprisingly, they have also assisted in my productivity. Yes, they do provide more work, but having a diversity of things to work on personally keeps me wanting to do work and keeps me busy.
While pursuing these creative outlets helps my work abilities, the main thing I love is that each one has its own little community of people with similar interests but with different backgrounds, goals, and ambitions. As someone who is introverted and has had to overcome my anxiety of meeting new people, I can say these clubs have been more than welcoming and incredibly supportive. We get excited about our goals, events, shows, and publications. We get to talk about our experiences here at UofT and how we can help students enjoy their time here.
Being in these communities has also helped me learn more about myself. While I wish I could pursue many more of the interests than I have, I’ve learned to focus on the few that I care about the most and put more effort into those clubs. As such, I’ve learned to appreciate my time here at U of T beyond just studying. Whether it’s the arts, design, games, and more, U of T has tons to offer for you to feel included in the community.
Additionally, being involved outside of academics is also helpful when applying for jobs and internships, especially if you don’t have prior work experience. Often times, you gain a lot of skills beyond those you would learn in class, which may be more transferable to a work environment. That being said, Accessibility Services (another way to find community!) is hosting a work-related event, Disclosure in the Workplace on March 27th.
Let me know how you get involved on campus in the comments!