Have you ever realized how easy it is to be anonymous at UCF? Do you find yourself walking around the Business building and not really knowing anyone? Have you found yourself stuck in the “Eat. Sleep. School. Repeat” routine?
We know how easy it is to get stuck in that rut and to add to it the social anxiety of having to meet new people, introduce yourself, and shake their hands – We get it. Neither of us were involved on campus our first year, and we quickly realized this was not the kind of college experience we wanted.

You may be wondering who we are. Well, we are Advising Team members at the Office of Professional Development. Typically, we help you plan your schedule and answer academic policy questions. But, there are times when we get questions about different organizations and how to get involved.

Many students believe receiving a degree is enough, but after graduation they soon realize they should have done more. Maybe some of you have realized this already, but you don’t know where to start – that’s completely normal with over 600 registered student organizations to choose from. Here are our stories:

“My name is Valeria, and my campus involvement really started when I pledged Delta Sigma Pi, a professional business fraternity, in the fall of 2014. I was so scared and nervous to talk to all these people in suits that seemed to know everyone around them, but after a few events, I got comfortable and was really able to come out of my shell. Pledging DSP was very time consuming, and my time management skills were put to the test. I never thought I could have time to pledge, work, and take 5 classes all at once but I did it and saw that I was the only person putting a limit on myself and what I could do. After I realized all of the things I could accomplish in 24 hours, I applied to become a part of the Advising Team at the Office of Professional Development and also joined the Financial Management Association and the Young Investors Club. The knowledge my peers in these organizations are able to share with is more than I could’ve imagined and they have really made me feel at home here at UCF.”

“I’m Bethany, and I am a full time student, the secretary of Collegiate DECA, and an intern with the UCF College of Medicine’s physician practice (UCF Health). I also work part time in the Office of Professional Development. Although these things fill my schedule now, the start of my college career was much different. I had the hardest time getting out there and becoming involved; it honestly took a couple of professors and a lengthy group project to really make me take that leap. Being where I am now, I realize the importance of being active in more than just classes. It is so easy to go unnoticed here, but being unnoticed wasn’t going to get me a job – So, I got involved. I ran for a leadership position in a club, I got to know my professors, and I sent out my resume to get an internship and job on campus. I let go of all the fear when I realized that I’d much rather be rejected and learn from that than to regret never trying. At this point in my life, I’m happier… and busier than ever, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Being involved allows you to:

  • Be around people that motivate you
  • Expand you network and, in the end, your net worth
  • Build your resume through meaningful and relevant experiences
  • Be around people that can give you advice and help you with your classes
  • Grow as a leader and get experience working as a team
  • Meet with future employers regularly through events
  • Be up to date with all of the events that are coming up
  • Acquire the “soft” skills you need for the real world

Both us of understand the struggles of initially getting involved, but also highly encourage taking that first step! You won’t regret it. Even if you join a club and come to realize it’s not right for you, you’ll still be able to take something out of that experience. College is a time to learn, to grow, and to find yourself. The number of resources here at UCF to guide you are vast, so get involved – become a better you!