Getting involved is sometimes hard. The searching process is awkward and difficult. I’m no expert in this, but I’ll share my 5 tips as a first year in getting involved in the school community.
Familiarize yourself with CLNx
I spent a lot of time on CLNx when I got my account last summer and also throughout this academic year (thanks, Study Hubs!) Did you know that you can search for both on-campus and off-campus job opportunities through on the platform too? There are currently people hiring! You can also find out about work-study positions, the job shadowing program, on-going career fairs and more throughout the year using CLNx.
Even if you’re not in the job search process, it’s still beneficial to familiarize yourself with the system. I find the platform quite important for professional development, so make sure to take the time to familiarize yourself early, even if you’re not planning to engage in a job search at this time.
Take time to find your community
And “community” doesn’t only refer to people with the same cultural or religious background. It refers to the sense of belonging you get from being active in any community. It may be hard to foster a sense of belonging if your involvement is quite small, so I always try out for executive positions. Being in an executive team means that you get to contribute to the community in a really meaningful way. It’s election and hiring season, so if you want to get first-hand updates, be sure to keep up with your student communities on campus: see my next suggestion below.
Take time if you can to find new clubs and see if they fit you. I sign up for newsletters for clubs that I’m interested to be involved in. Sometimes they send out emails requesting volunteers for an event, and that’s definitely a good way to get started without long-term commitment.
Take advantage of Student Life, Sidney Smith Commons, Arts and Science Union, your college, and other student communities
Both the SSC and ASSU are active on social media platforms. I have heard about a lot of opportunities through these student unions. And if you haven’t followed @uoftstudentlife on Instagram, you should! They share important updates almost every day, so you may find something that you’ll be interested in.
If you’re not on social media, then sign up for the newsletters. Student Life Newsletters send weekly emails to keep you updated with their upcoming events. Make sure to also sign up for your college’s one!
Use Facebook groups
I don’t use Facebook that often anymore, but I have to agree that Facebook groups is a great way to search for information. I found my volunteer position through Facebook! I also believe that every class of students (e.g. Class of 2025) has their own Facebook group, which I highly recommend you to join. I found that so many people share valuable information there, so you can most probably find opportunities through these groups!
Some groups that I follow on Facebook:
- UofT Academic Success
- International Student Experience at UofT
- Off Campus Housing for UTSG (beware of scams!)
Know what works for you
You receive a lot of advice when it comes to getting involved. Some may tell you to start early. Some may tell you to concentrate on your studies first. Some may tell you that it doesn’t really matter. Getting advice is valuable, but it’s not as important as knowing what works for you.
I’m the kind of person who applies to random things when I have time and end up being too overwhelmed later. But at the same time, it usually works out for me. Over time, I select activities that I am more involved (and genuinely more interested) in and drop the other as I go along.
My method doesn’t work for everyone. You can prefer to take it slow or do it another way. It doesn’t matter as long as you enjoy what you’re doing.
Even though we’re busy at the end of this term, I hope you’re still staying involved and connecting to people in some way 🙂 Good luck!