New beginnings can be thrilling — and terrifying.

As a new freshman at Mizzou, you are about to experience excellent professors, a myriad of hands-on learning opportunities and an infectious school spirit. But you’re also on a 1,262-acre campus with more than 40,000 students, staff and faculty. That can feel a little intimidating.

But once you get out and explore, you’ll quickly learn your way.

To help you get started, we’ve curated some personal advice from a few experienced Mizzou students who have made a home on campus. They took time from their summer — from back home in Illinois; from their summer internships in Washington, D.C., or Google’s Boulder, Colorado, campus; or from right here in Columbia — to share the best ways get the most from your Mizzou experience.

Their first tip — no surprise — is to put yourself out there and make new friends. It’s actually pretty easy.

Once you make a few connections though, you’ll want to branch out and find ways to get involved on campus. Why? Because the out-of-classroom experience is a great way to network, learn career and leadership skills, give back, and take your Mizzou experience to the next level.

Most clubs and organizations are open to all comers, though some have an application process. By finding one that pairs with your academic interests, you’ll discover a practice field for the concepts you learn in the classroom. You might even find a new career passion altogether.

Wanting to get involved on campus is a necessary first step. But how do you actually do it?

The most immediate way is your residence hall. Each hall has a hall government. There are more than 50 fraternities and sororities. Campus student government is also a strong draw.

But you don’t have to choose just one group. There are more than 500 recognized student clubs and organizations. An Involvement Ambassador can help you figure out what’s available that fits your interests.

It might not seem like it now, but once you put yourself out there, you’ll likely feel a temptation to get involved in too many things. Opportunities abound at Mizzou.

Learning how to adjust your involvement to fit your schedule, your goals and your interests is an important part of a well-crafted successful student experience. These students have pursued full academic loads and a full slate of extracurricular obligations. They share their insights on how they struck that balance.

A side benefit of a robust extracurricular experience is that you’ll find the hidden gems on campus — where the best hangout spots and study spots are, for instance.

But if you want a few semi-secret recommendations now, our students will share some (but not all!) of their best hidden gems.

Mizzou seems big right now. But every student carves a very personal path through it.

In four short years, you’ll look back at this semester and see how it connects with all that comes later. You will find meaning in things that seem random now, understanding the important part they played in your journey. And you’ll look back at these memories you’re about to make with fondness.

 

Questions? Let us know!

The students in these videos are leaders of their respective organizations, representing students to campus administrators. If you have questions or would like to learn more, they would love to hear from you.

Aarika Box, Multicultural Greek Council president
MGCPresident@missouri.edu
MGC strives to create and maintain an inclusive and culturally diverse environment. Also, MGC aims to launch a more diverse, cooperative existence between fraternities and sororities and voice their concerns while maintaining good faith with the university.

Nathan Dare, Residence Halls Association president
nrdp9f@mail.missouri.edu
Alexia Donovan, Residence Halls Association vice president
anfb84@mail.missouri.edu
RHA is the student governing body of Mizzou’s residence halls, making policy decisions and organizing educational and social events. RHA also facilitates communication between the residents and the Department of Residential Life, university administration and other organizations.

Jake Eovaldi, Interfraternity Council president
IFCPresident@missouri.edu
IFC is the governing board for chapters affiliated with the North American Interfraternity Conference at Mizzou. The executive board provides an enriching collegiate experience through member development programming and collaborative efforts with chapter leadership.

Shelby Lofton, Panhellenic Association president
PHAPresident@missouri.edu
PHA is the governing body of the recognized National Panhellenic Conference sororities at Mizzou. The eight-member executive board promotes unity within the sororities through frequent events for the whole PHA community, hosting formal recruitment, and more.

Julia Wapata, Missouri Students Association president
msapresident@mail.missouri.edu
Connor McAteer, Missouri Students Association vice president
msavp@mail.missouri.edu
MSA, the recognized undergraduate student government at Mizzou, represents student interests and advocates for them on issues they face. MSA works with student organizations to provide opportunities for social and cultural activities, and a range of services and programs on campus.

Aaron Witherspoon, National Pan-Hellenic Council treasurer NPHCTreasurer@missouri.edu
NPHC is a coalition of historically African American Greek-letter fraternities and sororities, currently representing more than 1.5 million members internationally. The organization boasts a diverse membership comprising students, celebrities, corporate, political and community leaders.