Fair to showcase student groups

Students walk up Pedestrian Mall during class change for the first day of fall semester on Wednesday. On Friday, the Mall will host the InVOLvement Fair, a chance for students to meet campus organizations.

When coming to a university as big as UT, it can feel a bit daunting being just one person in a pool of 30,000.

One way to make this university feel a little less huge is by joining campus organizations. Not only is this a way to make new friends, but it is also your chance to find your place on Rocky Top and to delve into your interests.

For example, perhaps in high school you learned French, but upon arriving at UT, you decide you want to start learning Japanese and join the Japanese Club. Or, maybe you really enjoyed playing lacrosse in high school and want to continue playing with the intramural team at UT. The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to UT’s organizations.

Take advantage of resources

Because there are so many organizations at UT,VOLink and the student engagement fair are your best friends.

VOLink is a website where you can search through 606 of UT’s organizations. You can browse through all of the organizations in general, or you can search using keywords to find exactly what you are looking for.

At the same time, the student engagement fair is a vital resource when it comes to finding organizations to join. Due to the pandemic, these fairs -- held at the beginning of each new semester -- were altered a bit, but with things being mainly in person this fall, they should be rewired back to a new normal.

The student engagement fair is an in-person event where students from various organizations set up tables with information about what they do and why they chose their organizations, and are there as a helping hand for new -- and current -- students looking to find their footing at UT.

Prioritize your choices

While it is great that there are hundreds of organizations at UT, this can also make it a bit difficult to narrow down what exactly you would like to join. Your choices should all depend on what truly interests you.

It is best not to join every single organization that catches your eye, because several of them require a fee upon joining and the amount of clubs you have joined can become overwhelming. Try to look for what really speaks to you and your interests before making a decision.

It is a common theme for new students to join several organizations when first arriving at UT because everything is so fresh and exciting. However, this can quickly become a nuisance when homework starts piling up and organizations start holding regular meetings or events.

For students who really want to dip their toes in multiple organizations, a good rule of thumb is to narrow it down to around three that most pique your interest. This is a good starting point, and it is possible that you will end up only deciding on two -- or even one -- once you figure out where your priorities lie.

Challenge yourself

Sometimes the best decisions are those that make us the most uncomfortable.

Discomfort is often necessary for change, and it is possible that when you arrive at UT you will be nervous to join an organization that you have no prior knowledge of or experience with.

All organizations at UT are made up of students -- people who have all stood where you have stood and are either the same age as you or just a little bit older. Everyone is in the same boat and you don’t need to be afraid to join something that you are unfamiliar with.

The amazing thing about college is that it is an opportunity for self discovery. Join the organizations that you are most interested in and that give you a chance to try new things. You may discover something about yourself, and you will definitely meet some amazing people along the way.

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