The first year of university can be intimidating, especially for the introvert and for those going to a school where they don’t know anyone. Some look at it as a chance to recreate themselves, starting afresh… while others arrive on move-in day unsure about their social life and how to begin this new chapter without some familiar faces and activities.
A university is like its own small town. They are loaded up with so many clubs, activities and organizations that every student should be able to find a place where they belong. Exploring and joining one (or many!) of these groups can be one of the most impactful decisions a student can make during their four years of schooling – both on a personal and a professional level.
Here are 7 BIG reasons why you should join a club, activity or student organization during your time as an undergraduate. We guarantee you that it will only do you good!
- You find and connect with people with the same interests. The moment you join a club or student organization is the moment you will find people that you have something in common with. While many experiment with activities that they’ve never tried, just to see what it’s like, the majority of a club’s members are people who already enjoy its purpose. This means you will have something to talk about off the bat, stories of interest to share… something to bond This is one of the best ways to make new friends OUTSIDE of who you end up living with. It’s important to have your own life!
- It’s a stress reliever. Clubs are activities outside of your school and work obligations, and are often enjoyable! I mean, you wouldn’t join if it was something you didn’t like doing, right? Clubs are an escape from the stress. You have to admit… playing a fun game of flag football after class doesn’t sound too shabby, does it? Nor does getting that “feel good” moment of helping local kids after school. And because these groups are nonobligatory, fellow members will understand if you’re too tied up with school work to make it one night.
- It looks great on your resume. While professional experience is the most important aspect of your resume, club and organization involvement looks great too. This is especially so when you are applying for learnerships and for full-time jobs just after graduation, because most companies know that when you are that young, you couldn’t possibly have a lot of professional experience under your belt. In addition to clubs that are for fun, explore groups that are related to your area of study. Studying law? Join Debate Club. Studying economics? Check out a math league! There are endless opportunities… you don’t just have to play a sport! Hiring managers have a lot of appreciation for applicants who have balance, and part-time student organization or club involvement proves just that.
- You’ll develop people skills. Also known as “soft skills.” Let’s face it, some areas of study just don’t rely on people skills. If you’re working with numbers or technical data, chances are you aren’t focusing a whole lot of attention on how you communicate, your workplace attitude and ethic, your interpersonal skills, etc. A group activity can help you learn or expand upon the soft skills that you may not be flexing in your daily school and work tasks. What many don’t realize is that regardless of what you study, soft skills are important for success! You may think that if you are coding all day, it won’t matter what kind of communication skills you have, but that is false. A club or organization can help you dig beyond your hard skills and teach you how to interact with groups and individuals on an emotional and personal level.
- You’ll learn more about yourself. Clubs can help you learn more about yourself in terms of what you are genuinely passionate about, what your goals are, and what your strengths and weaknesses are. It’s also a time to figure out which keywords you should use on your resume and cover letter; deadline-driven, organized, great multi-tasker, etc. You have to discover these character traits somehow, right? A student organization is the perfect time to dip your toes into group work. Being surrounded by like-minded people is also a great way to observe how others treat situations so you can compare and adjust your own approach, if their methods are more productive and sensible.
- You will network. You know how we feel about the importance of networking, so not a lot needs to be said here. Your future success largely relies on your network, so take advantage of all opportunities presented to you! Chances are the type of student organization that you join will somehow correlate with what you want to do professionally. Meeting students, professors and club organizers with similar interests and goals is the best way to widen your options when you are searching for a job. The best part is that once you connect with one person, their connections become your connections.
- You can apply what you’ve learned to your school work and jobs. You know what they say, “you can’t learn this in a classroom.” Well, there are many things you can learn from being involved in a club or organization that you can take with you and use in the classroom or at one of your learnerships. The fact of the matter is that many life skills cannot be taught in class. School offers you the framework but hands-on experience offers the chance to practice what you’ve learned in the real-world. All experience is good experience, and joining a group will put you face-to-face with real situations, requiring real Not hypotheticals, like you will learn about in class.
Get involved! You won’t regret it!