The best part? Finding that home isn’t too difficult with on-campus clubs and organizations.
Most universities offer a wide variety of clubs to join when you arrive on campus. Clubs tend to be student-led, sometimes with a faculty advisor. There are a wide variety of them. There are publications, arts and dance groups, debate clubs, and many academic ones. If you’re looking for people in a specific major, major-based clubs can match you with others. If you need an internship, check out academic clubs related to your subject of study.
With clubs, you have a ton of options. You just have to find some that truly suit you.
Finding and joining clubs can be an intimidating process, so I’m going to break it down a bit.
Before even getting into why you should join them, it’s important to understand how to join. Most schools have club or activities fairs. This is where a ton of clubs can set up booths for students to meander and sign up for things. They’re super helpful because they really give you an overview of all your options for the upcoming year.
Think about what your hobbies and interests are. You can find great organizations that aren’t even directly related to your major. I’m an astrophysics major and joined my school’s Model United Nations team, so there aren’t limits on that. Even if you have a vague interest in a subject, it may be cool to join a club on it so you can learn more! In a way, clubs can help if you’re undecided by showing you where your true interests lie.
It’s also great to sign up for things that you aren’t positive you want to join. I’ve learned that sometimes my interests change, and it’s nice to have a solid number of back-ups. Having plenty of options is necessary, especially if you end up having time conflicts with other clubs. It’s about finding what fits best with who you are while also fitting in your schedule.
Most importantly, don’t be scared to go up to people and ask questions. Most people are there to answer your questions and invite you to their club. It can definitely be awkward at times (especially, when you aren’t sure how to start that conversation) but it’s definitely worthwhile. I like to learn more about a ton of stuff because it’s cool to hear about subjects from someone very passionate about them.
On top of all that, if you’ve scoured the club fair for something in particular but can’t find it, you can always make one! Talk to your school’s administration to see what your options are. Gauge interest among your friends and classmates. See if anyone else is also hoping to form a similar club. This is how plenty of clubs are formed and it can be a very rewarding experience!
So, you’ve done all that, but you’re still wondering why you should bother with these clubs in the first place.
The clubs at college are what turn a university into a community.
Without it, it’s just a bunch of people taking classes and sticking to themselves. It can be hard to find a sense of community, especially if you’re in a dorm that lacks hall events or other ways to interact with your neighbors. In classes, you’re really only there to learn and get your work done. In either case, it’s even more important to make a community elsewhere.
With clubs, you’re meeting up with these people usually once a week and indulging in your interests. You already have something in common with everyone you meet there. It’s a nice constant to have in college when you’re always running about.
Many clubs also host events. These kinds of events are quick stress relievers. Sometimes, when life’s too much, having somewhere fun to go for a few hours can be a huge help. Club events can get your mind off schoolwork and give you time to just relax with people similar to you.
Clubs and organizations are definitely underrated. A lot of people find it easier to focus on school and nothing else. I have total respect for people who prefer doing college that way, but if you’re willing to try something new, joining clubs can amp up your college experience.
Photo via eou.edu
Also published on Medium.