Advice for Finding Your Way Through Maize Pages and at U-M

Something for fun, something professional, something new

By Sneha Dhandapani August 8, 2023
Advice for Finding Your Way Through Maize Pages and at U-M

The University of Michigan is huge. There’s no getting around that. Some of us come to campus knowing exactly what groups we want to be in and others of us arrive just hoping to find our places somewhere here. No matter what your intentions are, I think the best way to situate yourself is to join a student organization, which will benefit you professionally, socially, and academically. 

I could give you a list of student organizations to join, but there are hundreds of guides to read, and in this case, Maize Pages is your best friend. Maize Pages is the university’s website where you can browse student organizations and campus events. Here, I want to focus on what to look for in a student organization regardless of your intentions and interests.

1. Focus on where you feel most comfortable

It is difficult to find where you “belong” – as cliche as it sounds. My biggest piece of advice is not to focus on what organization might be best for you or where you feel obligated to return, rather focus on where you feel the most at home. You might not feel comfortable anywhere right away, and that is OK. You cannot expect yourself to feel immediately comfortable in a foreign city, but a student organization that allows you to feel welcome will allow the adjustment to college to be easier.

2. Give it a chance

You’ve heard this one a million times before, but again, college is an adjustment, and like everything else, it deserves time. If the name or something about the organization catches your attention, give it more than a meeting before turning it away. You might not love an organization based on just the mass meeting, but often this isn’t the best indicator of fit. That being said, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, there is always next semester. Joining an organization in the winter semester can benefit you just as much as joining one in the fall, so try not to feel like you need to do it all the moment you arrive on campus.

3. Say hello

Yes, a student organization is a great way to meet new people – and in my opinion, the best way aside from meeting people in your residence hall. Even if you don’t fall in love with the organization, you can love the people. A few of my friends joined every organization that they possibly could, and by the start of second semester, they figured out that only a few were really for them. But joining allowed for them to meet people and make friends, which is the easiest way to make U-M feel a little smaller: getting to know more familiar faces.

4. Something for fun, something professional, something new

The rule of thumb is to try and cover organizations in three categories: one you know that you’ll love or find fun, where you can relax or practice an existing hobby; something that will further your professional interests or potential career development (think ‘looks good on the resume’), and a new organization. Take this opportunity to explore a new hobby or career interest. If you’ve always loved law but recently discovered an affinity for medicine, there are a million medical-related service clubs on campus.

Remember that the process of finding the right student organization for you is unique to you. Embrace the opportunity to explore, learn, and grow through not only your involvement at U-M, but through the process of finding your place here. While it can be overwhelming and often scary, it will be worth it on the other end.

Sneha Dhandapani

Sneha Dhandapani is a sophomore in the College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts, where she is pursuing studies in cognitive science, philosophy, and creative writing. She is from the suburbs of Chicago although she often finds herself saying she's from Chicago.