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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Making the Cut: Choosing Clubs in College

Caroline Ritter

by: Caroline Ritter
NSHSS Student Council, Georgetown University
As the weather is getting warmer and finals are getting too close for comfort, many college freshmen like me are realizing that this first year of late nights in the library, seeking assistance during office hours, and remembering to call home at least twice per day is reaching its end. It’s the perfect time to ask “where did the time go?” Or rather, what did I do with all of that time? What happened to those hours when I wasn’t catching up on sleep or going to class? What you choose to do during these hours is what truly defines your college experience. It’s the perfect time to “get involved.” I have learned that one of the best ways to become an active participate of student life and truly feel connected to your new school is through campus involvement. I admit that the first few weeks of college life can be overwhelming. You have to settle into life away from home, while maintaining a heavier workload and managing your personal interests as well.
One of the greatest aspects of college is walking onto campus and entering a whole new world of opportunities, but only you are in charge of seizing this sudden inflow of possibilities. You may find clubs for activities you enjoyed in high school, and also clubs for activities you have always wanted to try. The key is to just join something. This is one of the best ways to easily find new friends outside of the dorms who have similar interests to you. On the other hand, remember that you don’t have to do everything. I know you probably want to start Judo, play for the club soccer team, travel across the country with the debate team, be a class representative in the student government, and sing in an a capella group all in the same year. When more than two hundred clubs set up booths on Healy Lawn in the fall for the Student Activities Fair, it seemed as if I wrote my name and email address on twenty different sign-up sheets. The next week I was getting quite a few messages about meeting times and locations. When the assignments start to pile up, it can become difficult to manage meetings every night and still get enough sleep to function.
As the year is winding down, I have decided that it is a good idea to do some “spring cleaning” of extra-curricular activities. For each club I joined this year, I find myself asking three things. First, how much time did I devote to this club? Secondly, how has my membership been personally beneficial? Lastly, would I want to participate for another year? After answering these questions honestly, I decided that my list of activities in the fall will be shortened considerably. Instead of being obligated to six different clubs and having six schedules to revolve around, it is much better to narrow your focus and choose two or three that have the greatest significance to you. Don’t seek membership with the sole intention of building your résumé, but rather to establish lasting friendships and experiences. College is your chance to choose. Choose your classes, choose your friends, and mostly importantly choose to get involved. What clubs will you choose?