With the student involvement fair taking place this week, I can't help but think about how I got involved with WeAreIU.com in the first place. Blogging was something I'd always thought about doing in college - especially as a journalism major who was told to get all the writing practice she could get - but I never knew how to go about creating a blog.
I discovered WeAreIU while researching my dorm and getting an idea of what other students thought of it. One link led to another, and before long, I found more information about starting college than I ever could've imagined. The best part was that each post came from students - people who lived and experienced the things they wrote about, people I could relate to. It was as if these writers were my friends, even though I had no clue who they were. I returned to the WeAreIU home page and noticed they were looking for new writers. I then knew this would be the place to start my own blog.
At the student involvement fair, a group of enthusiastic students had no trouble persuading me to sign up. Afterwards, I completed a short online application, attended a one-hour training session and within a week I created my first post. I have since posted about 15 entries ranging from moving into a dorm to getting organized to staying healthy on campus.
So why should you get involved with WeAreIU?
1. Blogging = great writing practice. Any career field requires good communication and writing skills (and I'm especially talking to you, journalism majors). This is a fun, easy way to improve those skills, and the topics are up to you! Also, the writing style is very casual and conversational. You don't have to be a journalism major or a super-amazing writer to blog. You can take pictures, videos, whatever you want to do to share your IU story!
2. WeAreIU makes promoting your writing very easy. You can connect your WeAreIU account with your social media accounts and share links as you please. WeAreIU also has their own social media accounts, where they will share posts for you to their followers! You really get your name out there, and it feels so satisfying to see your work displayed on the site.
3. It's a good way to keep family and friends at home in the loop about what you're doing at school. Family, friends and acquaintances tell me all the time they enjoy reading my posts because it's how they know I'm having fun and getting the most out of my college experience.
4. Your stories truly help current and prospective students. When you share an IU experience, whether it's something big like Dance Marathon or something seemingly small like eating cookies from Baked!, you're giving current students new perspectives on IU (or maybe introducing them to something new!), and you're giving potential and incoming students a great insight into IU and college life in general. You prepare them to face challenges and excite them for all the great opportunities that await them.
I'll give you an example. I recently spoke with a freshman student I knew in high school. I asked her how she was enjoying IU so far and how she planned to get involved. She expressed interest in Greek life, and then told me she read my WeAreIU post about it! She said my post was "very informative" because it was detailed and came from experience. After reading the post, she texted all her friends who were also coming to IU and told them, "you have to read this." It made me feel empowered to know that I taught them something and it made an impact, even if it was on just a few people.
5. It's not a huge time commitment. As a WeAreIU blogger, you're asked to write one or two posts per month. How easy is that? All you need is a computer and an Internet connection!
Everyone experiences IU and college differently, yet we all share some experiences. WeAreIU has given me a place to share mine, and I hope it will soon become a place to share yours.