First stop for Freshman: Join a club (...or 5)

Students walk on Fairfield Way during the fall Involvement Fair on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015. New and returning students were welcomed by over 500 clubs and organizations. (Ashley Maher/The Daily Campus)

College is a very stressful time for everyone. Between studying for exams, rushing to 8 a.m. labs or avoiding the "Freshmen 15" (not a myth, I promise you), it’s a miracle that most students handle newfound stress so well. As a matter of ensuring success, students should get involved and join one of the hundreds of groups to help destress and to fully embrace the college experience.

The average student takes 13-15 credits per semester. That translates out to roughly 5 classes per week and a total of 12.5 hours spent in the classroom. Adding in basic things, such as homework and extra studying, and almost a third of the week is taken up by academics. Clubs and other on-campus activities help provide a necessary break. The University of Connecticut offers over 600 clubs to help students find something that interests them. Adding the breaks into a weekly schedule will help break up the monotony that is everyday learning.

While applying to college, students have to show how “well-rounded” they are; that concept persists into and throughout a college career. Whether applying for an internship, graduate school or a full time job, interviewers like to see skills gained outside academia. Joining a club shows an interviewer that you can multi-task and manage your time, while potentially supplying leadership opportunities.

Take me for example: I’m an actuarial science major, and yet I work for The Daily Campus.

On-campus organizations can also introduce students to new hobbies or help students further develop current ones.  Remember that well rounded quality that we talked about earlier? Most, if not all, students became well-accomplished in one or more activities be it sports, music or something else. Students can continue to pursue these hobbies through the organizations on campus. Continuation of these hobbies can further help students on applications in the future.  

For incoming freshmen and even upperclassmen, joining a club can be great way to make new friends and gain a larger social network. With more than 30,000 students on campus there is bound to be at least one person for someone to get along with. College can be a scary place, but a club can give you somewhere to interact with new people and expand your social network—

It can become a safe-haven so to speak.

All of the above reasons aside, joining a club helps to cement college as one of the best parts of life. That’s a clichéd statement, and yet it is completely correct. It is the place where many people decide on a career. It is place where some people meet the person they are going to marry. College is that most extreme period of development in life. Clubs give people a place to develop and grow talents they never thought they had, talents that could radically change the way they live and see the world.

Take me for example: I’m an actuarial science major, and yet I work for The Daily Campus. For those who don’t know, actuarial science is a discipline that uses mathematics and statistics to analyze risk in insurance and other financial fields. If you had told me four years ago that I would be taking journalism classes and writing and taking photos for the school paper, I would never have believed it. However, as I enter my fourth year, I’m starting to look for jobs that would allow me to keep taking photos and doing the work that the Daily Campus helped me learn to love. Joining the Daily Campus helped break up the monotony of studying and gave me a creative outlet to pursue a hobby I began in high school. As an added bonus, in every interview I’ve ever had, my work in different organizations has been brought up.

College is the best time of your life. Don’t spend that entire locked up in a dorm room studying. Join a group, make some new friends and experience all that college might have to offer. After all, it might be the most developmental part of our lives, but it only lasts four years. Before you know it, it’ll be over.


Amar Batra is a senior staff photographer and opinion’s contributor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email amar.batra@uconn.edu.