Loading up on extra-curriculars as a Fresh(wo)man?

<p>Hi everyone. I was wondering if anyone could offer some advice in terms of how many clubs/sports/activities would be considered "pushing it" as a first year. I really want to get involved in the community and such and I don't want to be sitting in my dorm, twiddling my thumbs when there is so much to do at Smith! </p>

<p>I was considering joining the Debate team and quite possibly doing a club sport and maybe Russian Club? </p>

<p>For the current/Alumna Smithies: which activities did you really enjoy and would recommend to others? </p>

<p>For parents of awesome Smithies: how "involved" did your daughters get when they were first years? Did they have any bad experiences, etc? </p>

<p>Thank you!!</p>

<p>-MM</p>

<p>Go to the activities fair, sign up for mailing lists, and then go to the first meeting of everything you're interested in pursuing. Don't consider the first meeting a commitment. You might find that you don't mesh with the Russian Club but really want to join the handbell choir after talking to them at the activities fair. Some clubs are more intensive than others - without direct experience in either, debate is much more of a commitment than Russian club, so doing both may be very feasible. Debate and a club sport might be harder, as both require some degree of traveling to tournaments.</p>

<p>I wasn't very involved as a first-year, at all. I went to a few meetings of the fencing club but decided not to pursue it.</p>

<p>My second semester I started Gold Key (you have to have a semester at Smith to apply) and I loved it (joined the board at the end of my sophomore year). I joined the Sophian my second year, and had a position on the editorial board for awhile. </p>

<p>I had work-study positions all four years at Smith. My first year I worked in the dining rooms, and for the next three years I worked in the computer lab.</p>

<p>For more comfortable nomenclature try first year or frosh.</p>

<p>Well, the only accepted term at Smith is first year. :)</p>

<p>I have mainly been involved in Sports at Smith (Varsity Crew, Club Ice Hockey, and house rep for the Athletic Association). I had an amazing time rowing crew and playing Ice Hockey and will continue both next year (I am even on board for hockey). Athletic association was so-so. Honestly, you find time for the things you love to do, so my best advice is find things you love to do and the time to do them will follow.</p>

<p>Yes, the correct term is "First Year", live it, love it, learn it :-) </p>

<p>Just remember that everything you do in college in terms of organized activities is going to be much more demanding than what you did in high school, and that's with a lot of classes dragging on your time. This is especially true for sports and large clubs like Debate, Smith Democrats, and Chorus. </p>

<p>Sports are a big time drag, even if you play the club sport. You have frequent practices, plus travel for games, plus fundraising obligations, plus team socializing, plus sometimes required conditioning. Depending on the sport you want to play, it can be a lot. </p>

<p>Debate is a pretty intense club, and it requires a lot of practice especially if you want to compete (not all the debaters compete however, and novices start out with less of a time committment than the more senior debators because fewer novices compete in competitions that "count" in terms of the teams rankings). </p>

<p>Chorus is one of the more demanding clubs also. They practice a lot, especially before performances, and they perform often, not just on campus but also travelling to other places. I think my friends in Chorus were just as busy with their practice and travel as my friends who played sports. </p>

<p>So yes, go to the club fair and find out what the time committments are for each thing. It's okay to try a lot of things out at first, and then whittle your list down to what is manageable. Really that's the only way, because each person and each club has their own limits. You might have some clubs you're very involved in and others that you just take a sort of light interest in and are on the mailing list for. Some semesters, when classes are rough, you might need to drop some things in order to balance your work and your life.</p>

<p>Also depends on what classes you are taking. My daughter had a lot of sciences with labs and discussions and pretty much stuck with being on the house council and volunteering as an EMT - she also had a campus job. All of that together was a bit stressful - she tried a sports class and ended up dropping it. Nest year she is working in a lab and thought about gold key but I'm guessing it would be too much time. Science classes can really fill up your schedule.</p>

<p>I just finished my first year at Smith. I found that it worked well for me to join Chorus and my House Council as my extracurriculars for first semester (I also had a STRIDE job in the archives). Chorus was a pretty major commitment--four hours of rehearsal a week, and more before concerts--but it was important to me to be involved in some sort of musical thing on campus. House Council time was mostly just one meeting a week, plus more time on the weekends if we were running activities in our house. Together, Chorus and HC were a pretty solid few extracurriculars, so I felt like I was being involved but was not overwhelmed. </p>

<p>Second semester, I became a Gold Key, which is really fun, but also more of a time commitment, especially when you're being trained. Then, there are all sorts of information sessions and shadow tours that are mandatory to attend, and with Chorus and HC and STRIDE on top of that, it piled up a bit, especially since I was taking 18 credits instead of 16. Next semester, I'm probably going to keep the same schedule of extracurriculars, since Gold Key is not a super huge chunk of time now that I've been trained. </p>

<p>Take the advice of the previous poster: go to the activities fair, see what looks interesting, and shop around at different meetings. Don't be afraid to drop a club after you've given them your email. You'll find a good balance, one that satisfies your desire to be involved and also leaves you plenty of time to cement friendships, adjust to college classes, and figure out the whole part about living on your own!</p>

<p>miss_murd3r, did you have to audition to join the chorus? Thanks!</p>

<p>^ Yes, you have to audition. You'll also need to be able to read music or at least look like you do. When I did my audition (though sadly, failed to be accepted. Whcih was a blessing in disguise, I way underestimated how much work it would be), the director had me sing scales along with the piano, sing some music along with the piano, and then she gave me a piece of music, played hte first note and asked me to sing the rest of the music a cappella, just reading it and following along from the first note she gave me. </p>

<p>The chorus is large however, so they accept a lot of people. </p>

<p>I was kind of a joiner at Smith so I ended up pretty busy with activities. I was in the Smith Democrats, on the paper, I was a Gold Key guide and on house council, and I worked all kinds of jobs on and off campus. And I did a few other things here and there, but those were my main committments. Just doing those things ended up being a lot of work, especially with all the travel involved with Smith Dems, and then on top of my homework and my social life, sometimes it was overwhelming, but mostly it was just fun.</p>

<p>Thanks for all the replies! </p>

<p>For debate, is the traveling really overwhelming? In terms of classes and social life, etc. Basically, would I be missing classes over this, or do they travel during the weekend? Also, do debaters pay out of pocket for transportation costs, or is it school sponsored? </p>

<p>I was also really interested in joining the Sophian. What is the protocol for joining and, typically, how much time commitment does it require?</p>

<p>Jobs. For work study, can first years work someplace other than the dining room/kitchen? Can we hold jobs off campus, independent of federal work study? How man hours, on average, do Smithies put up a week for dining room duty?</p>

<p>Thank you all so much for the responses. :)</p>

<p>For first years work study is supposed to be either dining hall or a tutoring program off campus which can be challenging with your course sched. My D did the dining hall first semester which was convenient and in her house and she worked about 5 or 6 hours a week which was enough not to stress her out. 2nd semester there were no shifts that worked well with her sched and she ended up doing fundraising calls which was not her favorite things. I will say overall she didn't come close to earning her Work Study allotment and I don't know if she could have put in that much time.</p>

<p>Dining hall work and the tutoring program are the only jobs that are garaunteed for first-years, so they encourage you to do them. You can apply to other jobs but you probably won't get hired because 1) it's not really allowed and 2) they usually go by seniority. You can get spot jobs like overwhelmed's D did working the Phone-a-thons, but as she said, that won't make up your allotted work study hours. So it's sort of yes and no. You can apply to whatever you want, but since some FA packages require that you work a certain amount of workstudy and puts that money towards your tuition, they need to make sure that their are garaunteed jobs available to first-years. I think the work study limit is 10 hours per week, it might be 12? That's an average limit, so some weeks you can do more, if you want to pick up spot jobs in addition to your campus jobs, as long as you normall just do 10 hours per week. </p>

<p>The tricky thing is that if you are NOT on Federal Work Study, and you are a first-year, you can apply for whatever campus jobs you want, as long as you don't apply until October 1 of Fall Semester and in Spring Semester you have to wait until the first week of the semester is passed. It's still a tough market, but you're not limited like the work study students are, though on the flip side you're also not garuanteed work, and especially fall semester a lot of jobs can be taken by the time you are eligible. I forget what I did as a first year, I wasn't on work study but I had some kind of job...</p>

<p>I'm pretty sure that if you have federal work study you're not supposed to be working off campus. The whole idea is that the government is making it easy for you to earn money at school so you don't have to go out and get a job that a regular person could otherwise have. Also, off campus jobs are a pain. They're only feasible if you're willing to work full time during your holiday breaks (including Thanksgiving) and you have no plans to go home for Christmas or you only plan to be home a few days. Northampton jobs are mostly retail jobs (there are some waittressing jobs too, but not as many) and they need their clerks during the christmas season (AKA the time when you're studying for finals).</p>

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I was also really interested in joining the Sophian. What is the protocol for joining and, typically, how much time commitment does it require?

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<p>Go to the activities fair! Generally, though, unless you're an editor The Sophian is whatever commitment you put into it. I did copy editing, so staffers showed up whenever they wanted to help out on three nights of the week and I was there three nights every week. If you want to write, then you're on a mailing list for your section. The section editor sends out a list of ideas every week, and you can choose from them or suggest your own article. Or not write at all. :)</p>

<p>I believe most debate travel was on weekends, but not every weekend. But why would you want to spend the weekend at another school when you could spend it at Smith!! :P</p>

<p>(Also, once you're at Smith you'll have the benefit of word of mouth, flyers, and the eDigest, which is an email that's sent out twice a week with all sorts of announcements about special events, speakers, and general interest meetings for different activities. You'll have way more to do than you'll have hours in the day. Especially when you realize that you also have to do your classwork.)</p>

<p>Like everyone has said, it depends on what classes you have so don't go too crazy joining everything. Go to the activities fair and see what you find interesting. It can be a bit of a mad house but don't get overwhelmed.</p>

<p>That said, I was in Russian club my first year and it was fantastic. We went on a few trips throughout the year, but it was not a big time commitment, just once a week. Plus we had tea, food, watched movies and invited guest speakers. Anyone can join, you don't need to be in any Russian class. I found it to be a great stress relief.
As for the Sophian, it's just like borgin said. You can sign up for any section and choose not to write that week if you don't have time. I also copy edit and am continuing next year as the editor, and personally think it's less stressful than writing an article each week.</p>