The college experience is often discussed in terms of academic achievements, with lectures, assignments, and tests being in focus. However, there is a lot more to that. It is a time of change, growth, and personal development, which would be impossible without the diversity of challenges, goals, and life spheres. Some people make friends for life or build a powerful and useful network during their college years. If this is what you would also like to do, keep reading to learn more about how joining college clubs and various college organizations can help you meet new people and more.
The Importance of Clubs and Organizations
While you might think that college clubs are only for nerds and are not something that you should try, you might be very wrong. Why? Because there are multiple benefits that you might miss, and they are not all academic-related. Here are a few things that you should know about college clubs and organizations.
- The sense of belonging. Generally, college students have diverse backgrounds, interests, and aspirations. Joining a group, in this case, often equals finding your niche and your place among people you feel comfortable around. The feeling of belonging, a place that you are interested in, a social group that you can blend with – these things are crucial for successful personal development. It is known that the sense of belonging can help a lot during the adjusting and transitioning process, for example, at the beginning of college.
- Growth and development. The majority of college clubs support and provide personal growth opportunities. Various conferences, group studies, and events can come in handy for those who would love to share and expand their experience, as well as improve their skills. The latter can also be done by taking leadership roles in the group, communicating and competing with other groups, etc. By simply attending club meetings, you can drastically improve your time management and teamwork skills.
- Networking opportunities. While the social sphere of your life can mainly be focused on communication that brings you joy, it’s also useful to take care of social connections that might bring you some benefits. Professional networking opportunities that an average club provides might not be that impressive, but they are still very valuable. Attend conferences and meetings, professional or interest-directed events, concerts, or group studies to meet new people and professionals in your sphere. You might find great career opportunities, valuable contacts, and wonderful friends; don’t miss your chance.
Navigating the Club Landscape
Finding the right club or college organization might not be that easy. Some students have the luck to find their passions and spheres of interest pretty fast and thus don’t have to take the path of trials and mistakes. Here are a few tips for you if you are looking for a perfect club option for yourself.
Explore Your Interests
In order to find your tribe, you need to know what your interests or expectations are. Think of what you would enjoy as a long-term activity. How do you imagine your meetings? Would you like to meet online or offline? Do you want these meetings to be more intense or rather relaxing and chill? These are important basic questions that will instantly help you narrow your search.
The next step is to check the clubs offered by your learning institution and match them with your spheres of interest – literature, art, physical activity, etc. Most colleges offer a diverse range of clubs and various cultural or academic organizations. You will surely be able to find a good match.
Attend Fairs and Club Events
Most colleges hold fairs and gatherings that are meant to provide an opportunity to get acquainted with various clubs and their activity. By attending one, you can explore what these organizations have to offer. Take your time and be sure to pay attention – ask questions, collect info flyers, establish contacts.
During the first few months of attending club meetings, it’s tempting to get fully committed. Instead, you might want to be careful with the amount of time you spend attending clubs and make sure you don’t get burned out.
While you are exploring your interests and your opportunities, you can surely pick a few clubs and try them out. Start with two or three, attend a few meetings, and see what their members and activities are about. Don’t try to blend in right away – you might later feel obligated to attend. Remember that you have every right to leave whenever you want.
A Couple More Things
Here are a few tips that will help you get the most out of a club membership:
- Seek leadership opportunities. If you want to add to your resume, and if you feel like being a leader or manager is your cup of tea, be sure to try out leadership roles in the group. Not only are leadership or any active roles in a group a fulfilling experience, but they also allow you to improve your skills or explore a new side of yourself.
- Active participation is a key. Don’t forget to actively engage with other members of the group, attend meetings, and help with the organization. You can get a memorable and valuable experience by connecting with other people or doing your best for the team.
- Be friendly. Social aspect of joining a club often depends not on the type of people that are in the group with you but rather on your effort. Be friendly, establish connection, contribute to the group goal, connect outside of the club.