At the beginning of my first year of college, I carefully debated which clubs to join and which to ignore.
“Women of Business? That sounds interesting… but I’m not a Business major.”
“Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers? Cool… but I wouldn’t relate to any of the events.”
“Filipino Student Association? Lumpia is good… but I’m not Filipino.”
I set my mind on Journalism-specific and Vietnamese-specific clubs: the two factors I most identify with. It wasn’t until my Filipino engineer friend dragged me to her club meeting that I realized there’s so much more outside of my major and my ethnicity bubble. Now, as a member of multiple clubs in which I don’t necessarily “fit” into the exact mold, I suggest any college students looking for a new environment to try a
The first and most important aspect is learning new things. Even if the club doesn’t focus exactly on your major, there’s always more to learn outside of the classroom that could possibly be applicable. For example, Economics majors could look into International Relations clubs, to tie together their interests into the huge sector of international business. If you’re an Education major, check out clubs that relate to the subject you want to teach: history? math? art? Industries intersect more than you think, so think about other possible fields that could be beneficial to your classroom education.
As a student in the College of Communication, I mostly took classes within that college and therefore mostly interacted with mostly those students. While it’s great to make friends with similar passions, I’m so glad that my friend dragged me to the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE) club meeting. Even though I may not fit the mold of the average club member, I’ve had the ability to network outside of my usual network. On a primary level, this means just seeing a few more familiar faces around campus. But I’ve also found symbiotic study buddies: they help me with my Statistics homework, and I help them with their English homework. Later, for an assignment in my Journalism class, I had to write about something science-themed on campus. While my other Journalism friends struggled to find a topic, I reached out to me SASE friends for advice and even interviewed them for the assignment!
At first, I was extremely hesitant to step foot into the SASE meeting. Will they just talk about science the entire time? Would I be super bored? Will the other club members alienate me as a non-scientist/engineer? Yet, I’ve found a great community and I’ve had the ability to network outside of my typical network. I’ve learned so much about interesting topics that I probably wouldn’t have learned about in my standard Journalism classes.
In addition to professional clubs, I highly recommend joining cultural clubs in which you might not “fit”. Growing up in a Vietnamese-American household, I was surrounded by, well… only Vietnamese and American culture. In college, I decided to join the Filipino Student Association just for fun. Dancing traditional dances, eating unique food, and learning a new language has been not only fun, but amazingly mind opening as well. You don’t have to learn about new cultures just through a textbook or through a foreign language class: go out and submerge yourself in the culture!