How to Pick the Perfect Club
Following an exciting school pride session during Week 0, freshmen are advised to head out to the Anteater Involvement Fair that is basically, Club Rush. Students of all years walk around Aldrich Park filled with countless booths of organizations encouraging them with hellos and welcomes to join their club.
As a freshman, I can remember fervently awaiting the Anteater Involvement Fair that morning. The promise of the hundreds of clubs that would want me as a member made my “people just want to feel accepted” side of humanity leap with joy. This, and the unbelievably friendly and welcoming attitudes of the clubs, propelled me to sign up for more clubs than I could ever attend.
I signed up for tennis because I played it for the first time the day before and I imagined going to matches with my awesome new tennis friends. I wrote my name down on the email list for sororities because they seemed so nice and I was tempted by the essence of sisterhood and family that surrounds sororities, and, if I’m being completely honest, “Legally Blonde.”
Basically, I signed up for all of these organizations that I thought I could conform to, but none of them reflected me. As a result of this, I’d like to offer some tips on choosing the right clubs that will give you the opportunity to take a break from school work and socialize with like-minded people.
1. Join a club that reflects who you are.
Even if you are walking with a friend checking out all the fun sororities or fraternities, don’t join them just because your friend wants you to join them. You will simply waste your time going to the first couple of meetings only to drop out before agreeing to anything serious. Join an organization that excites you, and with the hundreds of clubs at UCI, there is bound to be one for you.
2. Ask a lot of questions.
Most of the time, you are able to talk one-on-one with a club’s officer at the fair, so ask away. Ask about their previous projects, any club fees, and the process of becoming a member. This will give you a better understanding of the work they do and how you can join them.
3. Narrow down your search to one or two organizations that you are serious about joining.
After interrogating all of the club officers you stopped to talk to, pick one or two clubs in which you have that “can’t wait for the first meeting” type of feeling. I know that the rows and rows of friendly faces seem tempting, but be realistic. As a freshman, college is new to you and you have to give yourself some time to adjust. Joining too many clubs might affect your study time, and you don’t want to stretch yourself too thin.
4. Even if you are the only one of your friends that is interested in a club, still go!
There are plenty of people like you that want to meet new people in a group that are like-minded. Introduce yourself to as many people as possible and try to remember everyone’s names (I know how hard it is, trust me). You will be glad you went when you start meeting some great people.
5. Attend all, or most, of the events the club puts on.
It is important to feel like you are involved in the club. Make sure beforehand that any of the events don’t conflict with your schedule. If it is a volunteering organization, try to see if you can at least attend two volunteering sessions a week. If you can’t make it to a lot of the events, you are going to get discouraged when you go to the meetings and everyone is talking about the great bonfire or social they had the other night.
6. Lastly, don’t be afraid to join something fun and silly.
We all sometimes get too serious about clubs, and we forget that they are supposed to give us a sense of companionship with our classmates over something we all enjoy as a group. Even if it won’t look as prestigious as a medical fraternity, join a group with a shared insane infatuation that you have. Join Dumbledore’s Anteaters if you love Harry Potter! Or join a fashion interest group even if you’re not an art major. The point is to not overlook something that excites you because of something impressive. Hank Green, a popular YouTuber, said, “Read books! Care about things! Get excited! Try not to be too down on yourself. Enjoy the ever present game of knowing.”