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What Do Undergraduate Students Gain From Clubs & Student Organizations?
A story of growth, community, and learning.
It is the kickoff of the academic year here at Northern Kentucky University. I am teaching a “large lecture” by NKU standards. This semester I have 200 students in Principles of Macroeconomics, and 70% of them are first-year students. In addition to teaching them about macroeconomics, I have the privilege of preparing them for success by teaching them how to navigate college and life. How to succeed in college will be a big part of the class.
Clubs and organizations are an essential aspect of the college experience. My one tip is to get involved in clubs and organizations. Whether you're a first year, seasoned senior, or graduate student, joining clubs can significantly enhance your journey through higher education. Let's explore the reasons why it's important to get involved:
1. Creating a Sense of Belonging
College can be a vast and intimidating place, especially during the first few weeks. Joining a club can provide a welcoming and inclusive community where you can meet like-minded individuals who share your interests, passions, and values. These connections can foster a sense of belonging and make your college feel more like home.
James Blazina, a Haile Fellow & Research Assistant, recommends this: “If you are feeling nervous about going to any club, ask a friend to go with you. It makes all the difference having someone there who you know will support you. And you never know, they might end up enjoying the experience too.”
Kylie Koeninger, a rising sophomore and the social media manager of the Econ Club at Haile College of Business, recommends that you “just go one time to an event or club, and then you can go again or not. Just try!!”
2. Developing Leadership and Power Skills
Being part of a club or organization often involves taking on responsibilities and leadership roles. Whether you become an officer, an event coordinator, or a team leader, you'll have the opportunity to develop essential power skills such as communication, time management, problem-solving, and teamwork. These skills are not only valuable in your academic journey but also in your future career., a Haile Fellow & Research Assistant, reiterates “If you never try out a club, you will never know if it works for you or not. And if it works for you but you don’t try it, your missed opportunities are exponential.” If you love it, you are gaining so much. If it isn’t for you, now you know.
3. Expanding Your Network
In college, networking isn't just about exchanging business cards with professionals. It's about building relationships with diverse individuals who can broaden your horizons. Clubs and organizations bring together students from various backgrounds, majors, and experiences. Networking within these groups can open doors to new friendships, potential mentors, and even future career opportunities.
Dylan Fogt, a Haile Fellow & Research Assistant, “Econ club was the first time during my time on campus that I experienced a sense of belonging to a community. Every Thursday I would attend meetings and feel welcomed by the members and consistently recognized by everybody there as a member of the group, which is something I never felt like I had before., a Haile Fellow & Research Assistant who changed his major to Economics during his sophomore year, has this to say about joining Econ Club: “It helped me to connect with other students who I [now] work with as a fellow.”
4. Gaining Practical Experience
While your academic courses provide valuable theoretical knowledge, clubs offer a chance to put that knowledge into practice. Whether you're a marketing major working on a real-life marketing campaign or an engineering student building a solar-powered car, clubs can give you hands-on experiences that complement your classroom learning.
5. Boosting Your Resume
Employers often look beyond academic achievements when considering job applicants. Active involvement in clubs and organizations demonstrates your commitment, time management skills, and passion for a particular field. Including these experiences on your resume can make you stand out among other candidates.
6. Exploring New Interests
College is a time of exploration and self-discovery. Joining different clubs allows you to explore hobbies and interests you might not have considered before. Whether it's a cultural club, a debate team, a community service group, or a sports club, each experience can broaden your perspective and enrich your college life.
7. Managing Stress and Improving Well-Being
College life can be stressful at times, with academic pressures and personal challenges. Being part of a supportive community can help you cope with stress and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Clubs and organizations often organize social events, workshops, and wellness activities that contribute to your overall well-being.
8. Leaving a Lasting Impact
By joining a club or organization, you have the opportunity to make a positive impact on your college and local community. Whether it's through organizing charity events, environmental initiatives, or awareness campaigns, your contributions can leave a lasting legacy that continues even after you graduate.
9. Learning from Diverse Perspectives
In clubs, you'll interact with people who may have different viewpoints and backgrounds. Engaging in discussions and collaborating on projects with diverse perspectives can broaden your understanding of the world and teach you to approach challenges from multiple angles.
10. Making College Unforgettable
College is more than just attending classes and earning a degree. It's about embracing the whole experience and creating memories that will stay with you for a lifetime. Joining clubs and organizations adds depth to your college journey, making it an unforgettable chapter in your life.
As you take on this exciting chapter of your life, we encourage you to consider the vast array of clubs and organizations available to you. Whether you have a clear passion or are open to new adventures, stepping outside your comfort zone can lead to transformative experiences and personal growth.
Remember, college is not just about what you learn in textbooks; it's about the connections you make, the skills you develop, and the impact you have on the world around you. So, take that leap, sign up for a club, and make the most of your college years!