By the end of this section, you will be able to:
- Describe several benefits of participating in campus life by joining organized groups and participating in campus activities.
- Identify how participation in organized activities can promote multiculturalism and a better understanding of diversity.
- List several ways you can learn about groups and activities on your own campus.
The college social experience also includes organized campus groups and activities. Participating in organized activities requires taking some initiative, but it also ensures a fully enriching college experience. The active pursuit of a stimulating life on campus offers many benefits:
- Organized groups and activities speed your transition into your new life. New students can be overwhelmed by their studies and be slow to cultivate relationships. Rather than waiting for them to come along on their own, you can immediately begin broadening your social contacts and experiences by joining groups that share your interests.
- Organized groups and activities help you experience a much greater variety of social life than you might otherwise. New students often tend to interact more with other students their own age and with similar backgrounds. But if you don’t actively reach out, you are much less likely to meet and interact with others, such as students who are older and have a perspective you may otherwise miss or students of diverse heritage or cultures who might help broaden your perspectives.
- Organized groups and activities help you gain new skills, whether technical, physical, intellectual, or social. Such skills may find their way into your résumé or your application for a scholarship. Employers and others like to see well-rounded students with a range of proficiencies and experiences.
- Organized groups and activities are fun and a great way to stay healthy and relieve stress. Exercise and physical activity are essential for health and well-being, and many organized activities offer a good way to keep moving.
- Organized groups give you opportunities for civic engagement. By joining campus groups, you will have opportunities to identify and address issues of social concern.
Participating in Groups and Activities
College campuses offer a wide range of clubs, organizations, and other activities that are open to all students. College administrators view this as a significant benefit and work to promote student involvement in such groups. When you made your decision to attend college, you likely received printed materials or studied the MCC website and saw many opportunities, but you may have been so busy starting the new semester that you haven’t thought of these groups since. It’s a good time now to check out the possibilities:
- Browse MCC’s website, to find out more about student clubs and organizations.
- Watch for club fairs, open houses, and similar activities on campus. Look for an activity fair, which may include information tables from many groups to recruit students.
- Talk with the representatives from any group in which you may be interested.
- Look for notices on bulletin boards around campus. Student groups really do want new students to join, so they usually try to post information where you can find it.
- Stop by the appropriate college office, such as the First Year Experience and the Campus Life and Leadership Development offices.
- If you are looking for a group with very specialized interests, check with the offices of academic departments where many students with that interest may be majoring.
- Consider a wide variety of organizations. Some are primarily social, and some are political. Some clubs are based on hobbies (photography, chess, videogaming, computer programming) while others involve the arts (instrumental music, choral singing, painting, poetry writing, drama club). Some clubs provide forms of physical recreation (rock-climbing, outdoor activities, archery, yoga, table tennis, tai chi, team sports) while some focus on volunteerism (tutoring other students, community service projects, food drives). Others are related to academic or intellectual pursuits (nursing , math, engineering, debate, student literary magazine).
- Consider other forms of involvement and roles beyond clubs. Gain leadership experience by running for office in student government or applying for a residence hall support position. If you are looking for a job, consider what kinds of people you’ll have the opportunity to interact with.
- If your campus doesn’t have a group focused on a particular activity you enjoy yourself, think about starting a new club. Your college will help you get started.
Whatever your interests, don’t be shy about checking out a club or organization. Take chances and explore. Attending a meeting or gathering is not a commitment; you’re just going the first time to see what it’s like, and you have no obligation to join. Keep an open mind as you meet and observe other students in the group, especially if you don’t feel at first like you fit in. Remember that part of the benefit of the experience is to meet others who are not necessarily just like everyone you already know.
Explore Your Interests for College Clubs and Organizations
Write things you may be interested in doing with others in each of these categories.
|Clubs Related to Hobbies and Personal Interests||Sports, Exercise, Physical Fitness||Interests Related to Your Major Area of Study||Purely for Fun|
When and How to Say No
For all the benefits of an active social and campus life, too much of any good thing can also cause trouble. If you join too many groups, or if you have limited time because of work and family commitments, you may spend less time with your studies with negative results. Here are some guidelines for finding a good balance between social life and everything else you need to do:
- Don’t join too many organizations or clubs. Most advisors suggest that two or three regular activities are the maximum that most students can handle.
- Work on your time management skills. Plan ahead for study time when you don’t have schedule conflicts. If you have a rich social life, study in the library or places where you won’t be tempted by additional social interaction with a roommate, friends, or others passing by.
- Don’t be afraid to say no. You may be active in a club and have plenty of time for routine activities, but someone may ask you to spend extra time organizing an upcoming event just when you have a major paper deadline coming up. Sometimes you have to remember the main reason you’re in college and just say you can’t do it because you have to get your work done.
- If you really can’t resolve your time conflicts, seek help. Talk with an advisor or a college counselor. They’ll help you get back on track.
- College students with an active social life who interact with the campus community are generally more successful academically.
- Organized groups and activities promote a more varied and diverse social experience.
- Students participating in organized groups and activities gain skills which may become important for professional and civic applications.
- Most campuses offer a large variety of opportunities for involvement in clubs, associations, and other activities.
- Take the initiative to find organizations and activities you will most enjoy.
- To balance your social life and academic studies, avoid joining too many organizations and use your time management skills.
1. List two specific skills (technical, intellectual, or social) that you personally may gain or improve by participating in a campus club or organization.
2. What events or campus groups have you noticed on a campus bulletin board or poster recently that caught your eye?
3. What academic subject might you major in? Imagine yourself joining a club formed by students in that major. What kinds of things might you do or talk about in such a club?