Ups and Downs of Student Organizations
I came into college with loads of outside voices telling me how hard my classes would be, how busy my study schedule would be, and more importantly, how little time I would have to myself. I love school and I was excited to finally get to college so I was overly prepared and content with the idea that I wouldn’t have much free time. The first couple weeks into school, I came to realize very quickly that a lot of what I had been told to be was incorrect.
My first two weeks were pretty light on work, at least compared to what I had been used to, and I had a lot of free time. I joined a few clubs trying to add to my schedule while still doing something that I enjoy, but there was still something missing.
Our group of friends used to do something called “family dinners.” One night during such dinner, we were talking about how much we all missed cooking and baking now that we live in dorm rooms with no kitchens. This is when we came up with the idea to start the Baking Club. We met with someone in student affairs and they convinced us that it was the perfect time to start a club. Coming out of Covid, the club-making process was made more accessible and simple, to encourage engagement in such a strange time when everyone and everything was still pretty disconnected.
After putting together a board (president, secretary, and treasurer), writing a club constitution, and presenting our club to the Student Government Organization (SGO), Baking Club became official. I also helped start the Pre-Health Professions Club; geared toward helping anyone on a pre-health profession track make it through their undergrad and apply to graduate schools..
The bulk of what we were told during this process was just information about the creation of the club. Our responsibilities after becoming a student organization were less clear. And let me tell you, if I knew everything I do now, I think I would have only started one club.
Each club goes through a training process at the beginning of the year. This training is an entire day long, and it is very tiring, but there is good information in there. There is also a lot of prep work that is done as a club board member. You do not simply put on fun events. Making sure that you have your money request accepted, all of your supplies ordered, your room for each event reserved, guest speakers lined up, coordination with other clubs verified, etc.. takes a significant amount of time. Even if you only hold one major event a month, you will be thinking about that event and what you need to do for weeks leading up to it. It tcan be very tiring both physically and mentally.
Speaking from experience, I do not recommend doing anything, especially starting a club, unless you have a true passion for it. If you do not have this passion, running your club will not be fun. But I can also assure you that if the first semester or even year of your college experience seems boring, and you have significant free time, actively participating in things that excite you will fill up your schedule. I’d advise you to also leave some time open in your schedule just in case an opportunity comes up that you need to take advantage of.
Anyone can start a club on campus. It is important to understand everything that you are responsible for as a club member and take that into consideration before beginning your student organization, but it is an option for anyone. Remember, clubs are meant to be fun and running a club can help you channel something you care about into a club that you can share with other people. But if you have no interest in actually running a club, there are plenty on campus that you can join to meet others, have some fun, and enrich your college experience.