Thursday, April 15, 2010

Self Leadership- Getting Involved without your Friends

This is an article written by one of our previous XCEL consultants Kate Gromatsky, that I thought would be great to share! Enjoy :)

Among the important things that occur during your freshman year, making new and potentially lifelong friends is usually high on the list for most new students. It is understandable that most of you (as new students) put a lot of time and effort into seeking out these potential friends, considering college is probably the first time you are away from home. This means that the family and friends you spent the first 18 or so years of your life with, the people who know you best, are not here. You are truly alone for the first time in your life and this may provide a long desired sense of freedom for all of you that can now can eat ice cream for breakfast and stay out until the sun rises without getting caught by Mom and Dad. But, as social beings we crave connections with other people, thus as freshmen we search for new connections to fill the void that was created when we left home.

Once you meet these new lifelong friends, you might find yourself spending every free moment you have with your new crew. Of course this is natural because you have 18 years of stories to share with one another, new memories to make, and thousands of funny moments ahead of you. While all of these things are well and good, spending all of your time doing things with others may not always be the best thing for you as a college student.

For starters you may be interested in joining clubs or organizations that your new friends are not interested in joining. Therefore, this makes it really easy not to attend General Interest Meetings and other initial gatherings because you are scared of the idea of going to something new alone. Lets face it—walking into a room full of people you don’t know is intimidating. However, as you continue to grow and progress in your life there is going to be plenty of occasions where you are going to have to attend conferences, job fairs, retreats, or meetings alone. So why wait until then; start going to events and activities that you are interested in, even if no one else you know is going. Taking this kind of initiative is not only good for your personal leadership, but you are definitely going to meet more people who have the same interest groups which in turn will expand your social network here at Binghamton.

Another reason why it is important to get involved in things on your own is to create some “you” time. During your first semester, you are going to discover that majority of your day is spent with other people- class, discussions, group meetings, eating in the dining halls, in your suite or community room, the library, the gym, etc. While we love our friends, suitemates or floormates, after some time this constant routine becomes monotonous, and you will start to crave some fun time where all you do is something enjoyable, something that breaks up your day. Understand that it is okay to attend an event by yourself such as a fitness class held at the East Gym or a Late Nite event. By going to these things alone without the company of people that you are always around, will allow you to feel a change of pace, which is a wonderful stress reliever.

Why a sheep photo? Because you don't always have to follow the herd! Be yourself :)
Be unique like the Butterfly!

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