Joining student clubs

By Molly Brown

Contributing Writer

To be blunt, the University has a lot of clubs. Whether your interests lie in sports, volunteering, fantasy role-play or Harry Potter, there is definitely a place somewhere for you and your like-minded peers. All you have to do is show up to have a good time, right?  Not exactly.

How exactly do you join a new club, anyway? Do you rely on the barrage of emails after you signed a ridiculous amount of clipboards at the Activities Fair back in September? Do you travel in a pack with your friends, joining what they are interested in just for the sake of having someone to go with you for the inevitably awkward first meeting? Do you eavesdrop on people’s conversations in the Bison? Do you wander around and hope for the best? Whatever your approach, it is difficult to join a new club, both in clearing the communication hurdle of when and where a club meets and also in the more personal obstacle of putting yourself out there.

It is one of the greatest social fears to find yourself in a situation in which you do not know anyone. But when you join a club, you are inflicting this upon yourself voluntarily. Let us say you have ascertained the correct meeting time and place for a club based on one of the omnipresent neon flyers plastered around campus. You show up and those who are there are already divided into their groups of friends. If you are lucky, you might see someone you know from class. You sit down alone, clearly an outsider to the normal order of things. You feel so alone, all you wanted to do was find others who are interested in the same extracurriculars or continue doing what you love to do outside of class. You debate just getting up and leaving, wondering whether you would attract even more attention if you did. Someone turns to you and says hello, so you return the courtesy. The conversation continues and, gasp, you have a new friend! Then the meeting starts and all of a sudden, you are in.

As a first-year, I understand the quandary of joining a club. In fact, this very article represents overcoming the above situation entirely: it is my first article for “The Bucknellian,” assigned to me at my first meeting last week. I went, awkwardly sat by myself and was then included in the meeting with a smile just like that. First-years might feel especially nervous about putting themselves out there because they might feel apprehensive about joining a club that already has an organized agenda or perceived rigidity in membership. This is not the case. Students and the clubs they form are open to anyone who is interested and are helpful and encouraging of any students who want to join. The key thing about joining a new club is to keep in mind that every person in the meeting was in your position at one point or another too, and that you are all in the same club because of your unifying interests. And perhaps, in the future, when you are a seasoned club member and you see a person sitting alone before a meeting with a panicked look about him or her, you might be the one to extend the hello.

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