Sean Goodman (UCLA Alum)
My first time walking through the activities fair on my campus was so overwhelming. Clubs that focused on the outdoors, sports, music, academia, and Greek life were all lined up in the quad in their own decorative and alluring booths. I didn't know where to begin!
I decided to rush a Fraternity and dedicated 10 weeks to being a pledge, only to decide that becoming a brother was no longer interesting to me. That winter quarter I checked in on those clubs again, and it was the best decision I made in college.
Here's what I learned.
You will find your niche. I thought I knew what I wanted to do when I first stepped into my classroom: I wanted to be a high school History teacher. That was until I joined a club that focuses on international relations.
After meeting so many inspiring individuals working for NGOs, local governments, and our own federal government overseas, my career choice changed drastically. Joining a club can introduce you to people and organizations will can have a profound impact on your career.
You will soon become humbled. I always thought I was strong - mentally and physically. That was until colleagues in my club who knew a lot more than I did proved me wrong during many discussions or beat me in club games.
Your parties will be more memorable. One of the reasons I didn't cross over into my fraternity was because my pledge brothers and I didn't share a lot in common. Sure we liked drinking and chasing girls, but that was as far as it went. Any kind of substantial conversation soon died out. That never happened at club parties.
You will find both stimulating conversations and intoxication, and it doesn't always need to be in that order. An additional plus is the fact that clubs don't have a pledge system, so you don't have to worry about cleaning up afterwards.
You learn how to balance work and study life. I was granted the privilege of not needing a job while I was in school. If you're in the same position as I was, then club responsibilities are a great way to balance work and studying.
Clubs are cheaper and don't require as much responsibility as Fraternities and Sororities do, but a lot of them will teach you how to work effectively, especially if you become a board member. I probably spent more time as my position of VP of Finance than I did studying for the English Reformation, but learning how to balance the two is a skill that I plan to use for the rest of my life.
You will make friends for life. Since joining a college club, the opportunities presented to me afterwards have been nothing short of phenomenal. Through an awesome alumni network I have been able to travel to conferences in Eastern Europe and visit Cuba shortly after they normalized diplomatic relations with the U.S. By finding a club that fits your interests, and having multiple shared experiences with your colleagues, you create a bond that can last a lifetime.
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