Why Join Clubs at University?
Universities are massive institutions that pull together a wide range of different personalities from many different types of backgrounds to make up the collective term of ‘the student body’. From this, it is only natural that a huge amount of clubs and societies are created by the students themselves to cater to their different interests – the University of Auckland alone has over 200 student-run societies. While most of us are studying to make a place for ourselves in the world, joining clubs and societies enables us to determine how we partake in our personal lives as well, and there are many, many benefits to getting involved in the extra-curricular activities uni life has to offer!
Firstly, joining some of the more academic clubs can actually provide you with additional knowledge and advance your academic skills, whether it be within your field of study or outside it. For example, debating, mooting and negotiation clubs are really good opportunities for law students to practice their skills in a relaxed (or competitive) setting before they sit their assignments and continue in their careers, but it also gives the opportunity for students who aren’t studying law to give it a go and gain transferrable skills that are useful in any degree. Toastmasters and political clubs can provide quieter students with a chance to practice their public speaking skills, or give confident students a platform to share their opinions; while investment, entrepreneurship and management consulting clubs teach students how to invest in shares, manage businesses and create and develop new business ideas.
Arts and Culture Clubs
Arts clubs range from photography to comedy, Glee club to concert bands, drama to writing clubs. These clubs give the opportunity for creative students to share, compare and critique their work with their peers in a fun and unassessed environment and establish connections with like-minded students, regardless of their field of study. Cultural clubs also provide an opportunity for students of the same faith or cultural groups to connect, promote and celebrate their unique cultures.
The obvious benefits of sports clubs are that they help keep you fit and healthy, and provide an easily accessible opportunity for students to continue their high school sports in competitive club teams such as volleyball, netball, field hockey and rugby – but the societies also encourage new members to join and often run open events or university-run social competitions where all people of any skill or fitness level are encouraged to come and try something new, whether this be lacrosse, darts, squash or golf. Depending on where you go to university, some of the clubs may also offer you the ability to try something that you were unable to engage in previously due to where you lived in the country – such as boat clubs, tramping or cycling clubs.
Volunteering and Social Responsibility Clubs
For people that want to be involved in their community or make a difference on a grand scale, volunteering and social responsibility clubs such as the Equal Justice Project and the Fair Trade Club provide students with the ability to connect with charities and causes outside the university, and to make a difference in society. It is also a place to share and implement ideas to better improve issues occurring within the university as well.
All of the clubs by their very nature have a social element to it, providing the opportunity for students with similar interests to connect and network with each other, whether it be dessert and wine, Pokémon or Yoga. Social clubs can become particularly important for students who have moved cities and may not know many people around them, but also for returning or local students who just want to meet new people or try something new.
Benefits of Joining Clubs:
One of the greatest benefits about joining clubs and societies at university is that they are usually student-led, which means unless you take on a leadership role, you can relatively be as involved or uninvolved as you like. This means that having club commitments will not impair on your work or study commitments, but can provide an outlet, support system or just entertainment or something to do when you do need it.
Outside of the social, health, academic, entertainment and friendship benefits you will receive by being involved in clubs at university, as well as the social impact you could make, your involvement is also likely to assist in your quest to find a job after you graduate. Nearly all employers will respect the leadership and interpersonal skills that you will have gained if you took a role in the management or organisation of the club, and depending on the job you are looking for will take into account what you were involved with and any voluntary or societal impact you made at university as being a good reflection of who you are as a person. Some clubs like Beta Alpha Psi will also provide you with significant networking opportunities with employers who were involved in the clubs when they were students.
Lastly and most importantly, as students, we are all aware of what the stress and pressure of university study can do to our mental health. Being involved in a club or society at uni can provide you with a positive place where you can be supported (or just distracted if that’s what you need) by people who not only get what you’re going through but understand and relate to you personally, which can offer you a release and a bit of fun to help keep you mentally happy and healthy while you complete your degree.
Whatever you’re into, I can almost guarantee there will be a club that meets your desires, and after reading the above benefits of joining a club, you’d be crazy not to get involved! And if there isn’t something that tickles your fancy, get six friends together and register your own club – I’m positive that out of 30,000 students, there will be a few more people happy to join you!
By Tayla Court, Auckland, New Zealand.