Why joining a club is important

Coming to college isn’t an easy experience for anyone. Most people move away from home, be it five or five thousand miles away. No more homemade food (hello Sodexo), your high school friends are scattered all over the country, if not the world, and you can only see your dog over FaceTime.

In a place like this, how can you not feel lonely? It’s hard. One of the easiest solutions to this problem is making friends, but, of course, that is much easier said than done. If you have a roommate, then you already have a great place to start. However, if you are like me, and DCL seems to have used the housing survey you filled out as toilet paper, you are stuck with a roommate you don’t exactly get along with.

The next logical step is getting to know the people on your floor: It’s convenient, you live close by and since you’re stuck with them for a year anyway, you might as well like them. However, as these friendships start to develop, a worrying question arises: Are we friends just because we live nearby? Will we even talk after we move?

This is where joining some kind of organization on campus is crucial. By joining a club, firstly you find people that have similar interests to you, or if you’re joining a club that is out of your comfort zone, you’ll embark on a journey of self discovery while meeting people very different from you. You’ll meet people from all over the world, with various majors, with different skills, from different backgrounds, etc. And you never know, maybe you’ll meet your future spouse or best friend. Think of all the networking opportunities you’ll gain from all these people you will know. The crazy thing is that all those people also know a lot of people, so the amount of people you’ll be able to get in touch with will increase exponentially.

But joining a club has so many more benefits than the connections you make, especially if you join a club that is unlike anything you’ve done before. I’m not sure how I ended up at The Brandeis Hoot because it definitely was not like anything I’ve ever done before, but here I am.

You learn so many new things about yourself by joining a club. You might find strengths you never knew you had, and chances are you’ll find weaknesses too (I have a ridiculous love for commas). You’ll be tested in new situations, face new challenges and see how well you respond to this. This self-awareness that you will gain is invaluable; maybe you’ll discover that you’re great at multitasking. Or maybe you’re actually really good at organizing. Who knows what you’ll discover along the way.

Maybe you’re not the best at teamwork. That’s okay; I think that requires a special gene that some of us just weren’t born with. But when you join a club, it’s very hard to not work with other people. As much as you might not want them to, your communication skills will improve. And who knows, maybe you will actually start to like working in a group, especially with people you like. Bonus: you will improve your people skills. Probably. You’ll also want to murder a few people. Just saying.

You will also have a chance to improve your leadership skills, and who doesn’t want that? That is something that will be useful in many aspects of your life, as a parent, a boss, sometimes even as a friend in crisis situations. And maybe you will try being in a leadership position and that won’t work for you, so you’ll know that maybe that is not something to seek in the future. Or if you’re stubborn like me, you’ll keep trying. And failing. And trying. And hopefully succeeding one day.

Speaking of being on the road to success, joining a club can also allow you to finally apply all the knowledge you’ve gained in class outside of class. And even if you screw up, it won’t be the end of the world.

In case you’re one of those people that tries to be as morally good as they can be, joining a group that serves the community is a wonderful way to give back to the community you’re in. Regardless of what your interests are, the Waltham Group will have something you’ll enjoy doing, from Hospital Helpers to volunteering with kids.

Some clubs also can make your dreams come true. When I was little, I kept asking my parents for a brother or sister, but that never really happened. I guess you can’t have it all. But thanks to Big Brothers Big Sisters, I now have a “little sister” with whom I spend time every week (how nice is it to just take a break from the craziness of college and play a board game for an hour).

In addition to all these amazing things, you will get the most important thing a college student can have: additional things to add to your resume. Not to be shallow or anything, but that is something very important for us, as we move closer and closer to going out into the “real world.”

College is full of hard work, long nights of homework, lectures, recitations, four month long midterm seasons, etc. Joining a club will be a place where you can just have fun doing something you enjoy doing, be it mountain climbing (I admire you guys, but you’re crazy) or writing weekly rants. In fact, joining a club gives you a great reason to procrastinate. Do I have a problem set for economics I should be doing right now? Yes. What am I doing? Writing an opinion piece because my commitments are important. And, of course, if you’re as lucky as I was, you’ll find a group of people who become your second family.

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