Hot take: Clubs are an underrated yet important part of the college experience. They allow students to do something else besides study or sit inside and do nothing (if this is your preference, however, no judgment here. You do you).
Clubs offer opportunities to meet new people and make memories with them. There is most definitely a club for everyone; you just have to commit to finding it. Luckily, clubs are talked about generously here at Arcadia, especially at the Activities Fair held every semester. It allows everyone—new students, ones returning from studying abroad, or even those who missed the fair the previous semester—a chance to walk around and learn about the different organizations we have on campus. Students can talk to club members and sign up to receive more information.
Despite all of the talk and sign ups, there still always seems to be a lack of new student participation. For those who signed up and didn’t show, I get it. Maybe your professor told you to sign up, or you didn’t want to be the one person to say no. Whatever the excuse, clubs for me were my saving grace last semester after coming back from FYSAE. I did not know many people on campus, and I really wanted to forge new friendships. I did this through Arcadia Christian Fellowship (ACF).
I discovered ACF through my roommate at the time, Luke. He brought me with him one night, and I instantly bonded with the people there. Religion is a big part of my life, so I was able to work on my faith as well. Coming back to campus from the summer, I was excited to go back.
In addition to ACF, I joined Puro Ritmo, a Latin dance club. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must do what every good member of a club does and promote it and encourage others to join.
Puro Ritmo meets one day of the week for an hour either in the Aerobics Room in the Kuch Center or in Stiteler Auditorium. Where and when you meet depends on what dance you are doing. There are around 10 dances and 3 different difficulty levels to choose from, so there are plenty of options. The list of dances is offered at the beginning of each semester during the introductory meeting. If you miss that meeting, you can still get the schedule as long as you gave your email during the Activities Fair. Attendance for Puro Ritmo is required, as you learn a new part of your dance each week. Dances are choreographed by the board members, which is pretty amazing if you ask me. At the end of the semester, we put on a recital before our families and friends.
ACF meets once a week at 7 p.m. on Thursdays in the Castle, and attendance depends on you. Meetings last about an hour—then there’s the after-party. You can go to ACF, but not the party, and vice versa. It’s all about building relationships with others and God, but if religion is not your thing, you can still go and reflect on how to be a better person.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled blog post: ACF has really helped me become a better version of myself. The club held its annual fall retreat in the Poconos a few weekends ago. I was initially not going, but the night before I had a sudden change of mind. And while I can not disclose what exactly happened on the retreat, I was able to really find myself through thought, prayer, and listening to other people’s stories. I also forged new friendships that mean quite a lot to me.
Puro Ritmo, meanwhile, helps me work on what’s inside and out. Although I did sports in high school, I chose not to participate in any at Arcadia, so I am on my own to keep myself in shape. The gym is only so much fun, but doing dance is extremely fun. I never thought I would say that, but I couldn’t imagine not doing Puro Ritmo. The members are very passionate, fun, and friendly, and it is such a great environment. I’m able to channel negative emotions into positive actions through the dances I do.
Even though I wake up at 6:30 a.m. for field work and go to bed around 11:30 p.m. after dance, I would not want to have my Thursdays any other way. Being able to work on expressing myself is something I do not take for granted. So I say again, go join a club or two! And do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something new, whether it is meditating or dancing.
Let yourself shine!