My Involvement journey at UConn started before I even arrived. I was a senior in high school and I had cousins who were already enrolled at UConn. I was looking at job opportunities for when I arrived and my cousin, Hayley, let me know her job had some openings and they were looking for people. I applied to be a Student Administrative Assistant in March of my senior year of high school. I came in for an interview and continued to have that position for two years at UConn. After that I wanted to transition into another position at the office, called a Student Ambassador. There were bits and pieces of the job that were the same but I now understand more of the “behind the scenes” work. That same cousin was also the one who encouraged me to join a learning community on campus. Many are major or interest specific but I chose the leadership learning community because at the time I was the president of a few clubs at my high school and really enjoyed that role. During my sophomore year in the learning community I found that a friend of mine was in a sorority on campus, called Pi Beta Phi. I decided to go through Spring Recruitment that year, and fell in love with the organization. I was looking for a group of friends similar to what I found in the learning community, which you cannot be a member of past the end of your sophomore year. My sophomore year roommate in the learning community attended an Alternative Break Trip her freshman year and was accepted as a team leader our sophomore year. She was the person who inspired me to apply to be a participant. It was a week of winter break that I did service and participated in reflection with my team on the trip. I loved the alt break so much that I decided I wanted to be a Trip Director, and am now planning the Public Health Atlanta Spring Break Trip for this year. In the planning of my Alternative Break Trip I decided I wanted a professor to speak to everyone about mental illness and its stigma. I really liked a professor in one of my classes and asked her to meet with us. During our meeting about the Alternative Break Trip, I asked if she knew of any research opportunities and she actually offered me a position in the lab she worked in. At the same time I was applying to be a participant on an Alternative Break Trip I was also thinking about the job I wanted, which at the time was a school psychologist. I found a program within Community Outreach called COPE, in which college students mentor children grades k-4. The kids are in the program because something is going on at home, like a divorce or a move and it’s nice to have some consistent one-on-one time during school.
My advice to someone entering college is to get involved in something right away. If there is something you really loved in high school keep doing it. If there is something you always wanted to try, now is the time. It’s never too late to get involved, but the sooner you do it the more people you’ll meet and the more experiences and opportunities you’ll have access to! J A piece of advice I have for both freshmen and students who are already involved, is to constantly ask questions and look for new opportunities. A lot of the ways I got involved was because someone I knew recommended it to me, not necessarily that I knew about each and every program or opportunity at the beginning of my Involvement Journey.