You Should Join a Campus Club
One of the most common questions a college student tends to ask involves making friends in college and forming long lasting relationships. Even students in their Sophomore and Junior years can have this issue. In reality, college is different than high school when it comes to bonding and forming friendships. You don’t necessarily see the same faces in your classes. A course can (and will likely) be much larger than your average high school classroom. Also, without assigned seats, the people you meet can vary with each attendance. Also, keep in mind that students have busy schedules. It’s not rare for students to immediately head to their next destination once a class session ends.
But there’s a primary solution to this issue: Join a club/organization!
What is a Club/Organization?
Overall, the two are extremely similar and in many instances, the term can be interchangeable. Essentially, a club and organization is a collective body of students sharing a similar, primary interest.
Typically, a club/organization meets at a similar time each week in order to participate in or discuss whatever interest or interests the club is centered around. While there doesn’t seem to be a concrete differentiation between the definition a club and an organization, in my personal experience it would appear that a club tends to be more focused on activities such as leisure or athletics. In contrast, organizations might be focused on broader concepts and tend to have more members, more regulations, and might hold specific events that involve the community or perhaps the university as a whole. To put it simply, organizations can be a bit more serious and objective.
Why You Should Join
Besides forming lasting friendships, there are quite a few benefits and reasons why you should join a club. I’ve provided several of the best reasons why I think you should consider checking one out.
A big part of college is figuring out what motivates you and where your drive lies. By the time graduation comes, you’ll want to have a better grasp of who you are and what you wish to accomplish in life. Joining a club is an excellent way to push yourself out of your comfort zone and force yourself into a position of independence! Once you do this, you’ll be able to take more time to learn about what you like through experimenting and interacting with others. The key thing to remember is to force yourself to grow. Change is good! With change comes new opportunities and new discoveries. Don’t be afraid to open yourself up to something you may love.
Many of the people you’ll meet in clubs, while sharing many of the same general interests as yourself, will come from a variety of backgrounds. The more you interact and communicate with these people, the more your beliefs can be challenged. This is a good thing! A big part of learning is challenging your beliefs and attempting to build upon what you already know (or perhaps don’t know). This is another huge step towards growth. Don’t waste the opportunity to learn from different kinds of people in order to challenge yourself!
Many people don’t truly consider joining a club as a networking opportunity but it certainly can be one. You’re amongst many individuals who you can develop a lasting relationship with. Depending on the club or organization you join, many of these individuals might be in the same or similar majors to yourself. This is an excellent opportunity to plan ahead for the future (make planning ahead a core habit).
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should make friends solely for the sake of networking. Don’t be selfish and attempt to leverage people solely for personal gain. Rather, use this as another potential reason to be in a club if you aren’t already convinced.
Closely related to this is using the club as a resume builder. Many clubs and organizations offer many opportunities to be in a position of leadership, especially those that involve community development or student representatives. Take any opportunity you can to put yourself in leadership positions that you can put on your resume.
Community and Purpose
During your time in an organization, you might be asked (or even required) to participate in community service events or volunteer your time. For many, being able to help out and make a difference can provide a huge boost to one’s self-esteem and overall well-being. Volunteering time to help others can be a great way to develop a sense of purpose. Besides that, being part of a community can lower overall stress and boost overall happiness. Of course, if you have other club members that are older, you can also seek advice from them which can help you avoid unnecessary mistakes.
Making the Most of Being in a Club
In the end, the key thing to remember is that your goal is to be happy and enjoy yourself while expanding your experiences. It’s important to remember that in order to make the most out of the potential relationships, you need to be willing to truly open up to others. You don’t need to reveal your entire life’s story but there’s nothing wrong with opening yourself up to vulnerabilities. Also, be mindful of what club you choose to join. Typically, universities have hundreds if not thousands of clubs and organizations with different students that all have a wide range of interests. If one club doesn’t give you a good vibe then simply go to a new one. If all else fails and every club you join doesn’t feel right, make your own club! Yes, that is an option! Many colleges and universities give students the opportunity to creae their own clubs. Don’t neglect this opportunity or sell it short. In any case, if your school has a club fair take the opportunity to try out different clubs and see which one fits best for you.