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MIT student blogger Stanley G.

Jellyfishing by Stanley G.

and other ways to recruit people to your organizations

Jellyfishing…GEL-ly fishing? Get it? Fishing for new GELs? Maybe it's too late for clever puns, but I'm posting anyway! 

Presently, I’m sitting here on Saturday night (well I guess it’s Sunday morning now, daylight savings time is weird) on the 6th floor of the Stata Center attempting to do my homework for EID (ESD.051, Engineering Innovation and Design, a class that all GEL1s take). This week was pretty long; I had tests in three of my classes: 9.65 (Cognitive Processes), 20.390 (Introduction to Computational Biology), and 20.330 (Fields, Forces, and Flows in Biological Systems). I’ve also been putting in several hours behind the computer managing the news department of The Tech like I normally do as well as putting in time to the GEL outreach committee.

Over in the land of GEL, it’s recruiting season! Even if you’re not a part of a fraternity/sorority and don’t have big productions to put on for your recruitment seasons like Fraternity rush or Sorority formal recruitment, inevitably you’re going to be involved with recruiting people for some group that you’re involved with during your time on campus — GEL is no exception.

In my time, I’ve noticed that at the beginning of the year, recruiting impressionable freshmen who want to get involved with things is a lot of fun and normally not mind-bogglingly stressful. It’s significantly harder to convince someone to do something when they’re already set in their ways and comfortable with their normal routine like a lot of upperclassmen are, understandably so.

Guess who our target audience is? You guessed it, all those upperclassmen.

No matter how much of a challenge your target audience may be to reach however, there are some easy things you can do no matter what group you’re involved with to make everyone’s experience a bit more pleasant when recruiting.

To the people who are being recruited: Impressionable freshmen or not, have an open mind to new experiences! You never know who you could meet or the insight you could gain by checking things out, so don’t be so quick to write things off if you think you might be interested. Do, however, take everything with a grain of salt. Also, don’t be afraid to not pursue things even in the face of your new friends telling you to stay — and be straight up with them about it. Don’t lead them on to think that you’re going to commit to something if you know you aren’t. If they’re really your friends, they still will be even if you’re not a member of the formal activity group.

To the recruiters: One of the easiest things you can do is to make yourself a list of reasons why you’re involved with the group and then tell that to people! It lets you consolidate your thoughts beforehand so you spend less time fishing for words in front of your recruitees that inevitably have shorter attention spans. This not only makes you look more smooth, but increases confidence and can make you look more authoritative, which is what new people want to see from an established member of an organization.

So, I made mine for GEL!

Why do I like GEL?

1. Feedback – It’s nice to get honest feedback from a peer about how I’m doing in the skills I applied on any given day — I don’t feel like I get that a lot elsewhere and it really helps!
2. Engineering – Learning about the engineering thought process is not something that course 20 focuses a lot on, it’s really nice to get that supplement of material from GEL.
3. Teamwork – Learning how to communicate and work with other people who aren’t of the same background as you is definitely a good skill to learn. Additionally, there is a high chance of inadvertently making new friends and having lots of laughs along the way. Your GEL teams will probably be the least frustrating teams you’ll ever work with.
4. Translatability – A lot of the skills you’ll learn in GEL you can take over to lead your other student groups and make them better – I know that I have.
5. Useful Deliverables – You get challenged to make things with good design that are built to last, you may find yourself using them outside the scope of the class, like an automated phone system.
6. One of the required classes is a trip to New Hampshire – to a camp not far from the mountains. I didn’t take that class this IAP, but I’ll be hitting the ski slopes next year!

Also, if you’re an MIT upperclassman who happens to read this and haven’t applied yet, there’s still until Monday at midnight to do so! Also, I found out on Friday that I will be a GEL2 next year, so if you apply for this year, you might get me as a team lead!

Happy (American) Daylight Savings Time!