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Joining a club is a lot like the first time you eat broccoli. The first bite into this unknown green vegetable leaves you with a bland taste; you’re not extremely disgusted, but you’re not falling out of your chair in awe at how great it tastes. That can be very similar to joining a club for the first time. Your first experience with the club, the first event that you attend, may not be everything you’ve ever hoped for. You may not instantly become best friends with everyone, or you may not enjoy the types of events that the club hosts. However, since you’ve paid the membership fee, or even if you haven’t, there are several reasons why you should stick with it.

First of all, if you’ve paid the membership fee, you might as well stay in the club to get your money’s worth. Depending on the club you join, fees can be excessive, so don’t bail on the club just because you don’t take to it immediately.

A lot of clubs take some time to start rolling. While it’s preferable that the board members of the club have planned something during the summer, that’s not always the case. Many people put off planning the new club year until school actually starts. They often underestimate how much time and effort is required. With the added load of school work, it’s no surprise that many first events (or even first meetings) may seem lackluster for many clubs. To form an opinion on how much you’d like a club on that first encounter is simply not a good idea. Paul Chen, one of my friends from another school, says, “When I first started out in Red Cross, I didn’t really enjoy my time. The meetings were gigantic, and the classroom was packed. As a freshman, I wasn’t able to find any friends in the classroom. However, I’m glad I decided to stay in Red Cross instead of leaving it, since it’s definitely one of my favorite activities now!”

Another reason (which may not be applicable to everyone) that could cause you to stay in the club is passion. Maybe you joined the club because you really liked the idea of what it stood for and you wanted to contribute to that cause. However, after seeing the club in action, you may think that they don’t do enough to further their cause. This shouldn’t cause you to quit; rather, you should stay in the club and be a force of change. Talk to the board members, and let your opinions be heard. Even if they don’t listen, you can always be a dedicated member, apply for board for next year, and then implement the changes you want to make. Clubs are an opportunity for you to pursue what you are passionate about. Don’t let people who aren’t as enthusiastic as you about the club hinder you from doing what you want to do.

On the other hand, you may have joined the club because your friends joined or you have a sibling who is on the board. If that’s the case, you may not be passionate, or even interested, in what the club is doing. However, as I’ve said multiple times, stick with it. Joining clubs is a great way to learn more about what the club does and who it benefits. Attend more meetings. Go to more events. If the club is related to a national organization like Make-A-Wish, look into that organization. You never know where you’ll find something that you’re passionate about.

Speaking from my own personal experience, I’m involved in a club that didn’t leave an amazing first impression. A lot of meetings were cancelled without notice, events that were announced suddenly disappeared, and money for t-shirts was refunded after the board members failed to order our t-shirts in a timely manner. However, since I loved what the club did and what its mission was, I stuck with that club. It’s been a rocky journey, but it’s a journey that I don’t regret taking at all.

Although broccoli isn’t the most delicious thing at first, it’s definitely an acquired taste. After each consecutive bite, you start to realize that it isn’t as bad as you originally thought. The same goes for clubs. That first event or meeting may not be great, but as you dedicate more and more of your time to a club that you wanted to leave, you may find yourself wanting to spend more time with that club. Even if your initial thought is to leave, just remember to stick with it and give it a chance. After all, the club just might surprise you.

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the author

Benjamin Din is a student at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, where he is studying journalism and the mathematical methods in the social sciences (what does that even mean?). When he's not writing for The Prospect, he can be found on Twitter as he tries to build his social media presence. For more information, check out his website.

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