One of the most exciting, interesting, and engaging experiences college offers you is the chance to join a student organization. There are so many options you’re bound to find something that catches your eye. These clubs and teams provide you the opportunity to emerge yourself in something (or a few things) that you care about, as well as to help you grow in the process. Here are a few reasons you should check out your campuses student organizations:
1. To meet like-minded people
Joining a student organization is completely optional, so you know that everyone who’s there came out because they care about whatever is being promoted. Sometimes it’s difficult to make friends and navigate if you’re new somewhere, and meeting people in classes can be difficult when you’re all in learning-mode. Having the common denominator of an organization makes breaking the ice easier and almost guarantees you’ll find someone you get along with. Student organizations range from all types of Greek life, intramural sports, government, community engagement, academic, and religious clubs. Though the people within your organization have some similar interests as you, there’s still tons of diversity and opportunity to expand your social circle.
2. To strengthen school pride and involvement
Becoming a part of a school-sanctioned club is one of the best ways to become more involved in the school itself. As a member of any one of your campuses organizations, you automatically become a representative of the school and what it means to be a student there. Odds are that there are faculty involved in your organization as well, whether it be through advisement, funding, or leadership. Getting to know campus staff can become very beneficial throughout your time in school and can involve perks like access to classrooms, equipment, and even free gear. One can never have too many t-shirts.
3. To network
The term “network” is a little intimidating because it sounds a lot like something you do on LinkedIn or in a suit. But in reality, it’s just a term that means meeting people that could potentially help you in the future. Most student organizations are not one-of-their-kind, meaning that there are other similar organizations like yours on other campuses. You might encounter these people through competition, conventions, or just coming across one another on social media. However it may be, it’s always a cool experience to connect with others on a similar path as you and your club, and to compare your shared experiences. Networking could also involve meeting your organization’s alumni (assuming your club isn’t new) and learning about their experience and any advice they might have. Finally, student organizations are huge resume builders. Coming out of college, you don’t have much work experience. Therefore having a few clubs listed give employers an idea of what you’re interested in and have learned a bit about during your time earning a degree.
4. To develop leadership and independence
The absolute freedom that college offers you is both a blessing and a curse. Sometimes being able to do whatever you want means doing absolutely nothing, which is fine until it turns into full-blown laziness. You don’t want that laziness to spill over into your academic career, so joining a student organization can also act as a solid way to structure your time. It gives you the type of responsibility you want to have because you actually care about the subject matter and invites you to learn and grow along the way. It’s also a great way to build communication skills without having to speak in front of a classroom full of people. Unless you’re in speech club. Either way, by working with a group or team of people, you’ll be able to take a leadership role and have your voice heard in a club run by you, for you.
5. To give you purpose beyond a degree
As cheesy as it sounds, joining a student organization can bring you a real sense of fulfillment. You know that you’ve put yourself out there and that you’re actively working on something that you care about. Sometimes school can be a real kick in the butt and can make you feel like you’re doing worse than you really are when chasing your goals. But when you’re involved in something geared toward you and your interests, you can’t go wrong. You’ll come out of everything you do with a sense of accomplishment for the effort put forth because for once, effort is the most important part.
The ultimate tip to joining an organization is to not overthink it. If you check out a club and find that it isn’t what you expected or that you’re not that into it, it’s easy to drop it and switch things up. Campuses have dozens to hundreds of organizations available for you to try. If you still don’t see anything you like, you can make your own and watch as others like you take to it. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and find out what your school has to offer you and what you have to offer it!