How to Successfully Navigate (and Survive) the Involvement Fair

Hygeia_5In all of us, there is a certain desire to contribute to something. Maybe this desire comes from a genuine want to give, or maybe some of us just want to impress our future bosses. Either way, this feeling will inevitably drive you to enter the involvement fair this week, thinking to yourself desperately “I CAN be better!”

But then you walk into the fair and you realize what a mistake you’ve made, because the involvement fair is the scholastic version of a Forever 21: someone has been paid prior to its opening to just throw stuff around.

You will be unable to find what you are looking for, no matter how responsibly you looked online at all of the options beforehand. And moreover, no one in the room will be able to tell you where anything is, because that’s just how things go. You’re on your own, bud.

There is literally no pattern to the layout, and the club you wanted is just like that skirt you were looking for that was probably balled up on the floor, in a corner somewhere.

And so you begin to panic. Desperately, like a caged animal, you pace around the room looking for something, anything that you’re mildly interested in. And with every passing minute you start to think more and more that it would “be good to try new things,” and so you sign up for the Archery Club, or maybe something having to do with bowling–have you ever even bowled in your life? No? Good, you’re probably who they want.

And then you notice the heat, and the number of people who have bumped into you because they can’t seem to understand how personal space works. You start to sweat, and think about why you even came here if all that you were going to do is get stepped on and abused by strangers, and sweat through your clothes (Gross! Trying to make first week impressions here!).

And so you run out frantically, having found none of the clubs you had in mind, forced to go another year without accomplishing your goal of doing more and having to face an inbox full of emails from clubs you never meant to join.

But, I’m happy to tell you that there are ways to change your involvement fair experience; this year, let’s make it a success!

First of all, always scout out your clubs online. There’s a full, alphabetized list of all of the clubs at Penn State online. Look at it, and contact the president with the info the list provides, telling them you want to join their club. Do most of your club sign up work this way, it makes things more direct and eliminates you hunting for them when the Involvement Fair rolls around.

Once you’ve established connections with the clubs you want to meet, go ahead and go to the fair. But take it slow, and browse the clubs to see if there are any more that you stumble upon that are interesting. I repeat: take it slow. Bring a little baggy for candy too – have to take advantage of that.

Don’t bring any big bags, leave your backpack at home and wear clothes for summer, it’s going to get hot in there. The less stuff you have, and the less hot you are, the less agitated you’ll be, so you can give the Fair a relaxed walk through! …and avoid those awkward emails from random clubs you’ll never actually attend.


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