At the beginning of the semester many colleges hold an activities fair. This means that as a freshman, and even if you are an upperclassman, you have the opportunity to be exposed to a wide variety of clubs which can be overwhelming. Everything sounds interesting at the activities fair but what do you do later when your email is flooded with “first meetings and you don’t know what to pick?”
1. Compile a list by category
As the emails start coming in start listing the clubs by topic. For example if you sign up for judo, Spanish club, singers, hip hop dance, National Society of Black Engineers, Engineers without Borders, and baking club your list might look like this:
- Hip Hop Dance
- Baking Club
- Major Related
- National Society of Black Engineers
- Engineers without Borders
- Cultural Development
- Spanish Club
2. Pick at least one club related to your major
First look at the list of clubs you compiled and see what clubs are related to your major(or a major you’re thinking about). It is important to have major related activities because they help you focus your skills and interact with upperclassmen who can show you the way.
For example, the engineering club I decided on is the National Society of Black Engineers(NSBE). I met a lot of upperclassmen engineers who have helped tutor me on my homework. Through this club I also learned how to network professionally and was able to go to a National conference and test out my skills. Here I spoke to representatives of major corporations such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, Google, Verizon, and more. This was a great opportunity to see what kind of places I might want to work in the future as well as bond with the rest of the group while traveling to California.
3. Pick at least one club related to a passion or something new
College is a great time to try something new. You’re in an environment where you have the ability to reinvent yourself. Known for accidentally dancing into the punch bowl freshman year? Try out for hip hop dance club where maybe you’ll be able to learn to dance better. If you’re interested in learning to bake but never knew how you could join baking club and have fun learning how to make pastries.
Alternatively, if you’ve always really loved chess join the chess club. This will give you an opportunity to meet people with similar hobbies as you and meet new friends. Also, just because you have a new load of homework doesn’t mean you have to give up on the things that you love. It is especially important to remember what you love to do because when you’re feeling stressed you’ll have a good outlet.
4. Pick one club that will develop you culturally
College is a great place to learn about a topic you love. Even so you’re there not just to be “book smart,” you’re there to grow to be “life smart.” This means that you need to develop the person you are outside of your textbooks. Companies don’t want to hire just book smart people they want to hire people who care and enjoy other topics. Every time that I have gotten my resume reviewed by a company as an engineering major they have looked at what activities I am involved in outside of engineering. One group that I joined on my campus is Wazobia African Dance club. While I still will not say I can dance I learned a lot of team work and had a lot of fun with trying something knew about cultures I wasn’t familiar with.
While it is good to join clubs don’t forget about your school work. Don’t get so involved that your grades suffer because at the end of the day you are paying (in some shape or form) tuition to go to college. Yes have fun but also be aware of how you’re doing in classes. Three clubs can be a lot to juggle so if you just have to do one until you’re fully acclimated to go study habits do that. This guide is not a sure fire method for every college student, but hopefully it was able to help you decide what you’d like to join in college.