I don’t know about you guys, but during my freshman orientation the thing I most looked forward to most was the activities fair. For me, college was going to be my chance to really get out there and try a bunch of things I hadn’t tried before. Of course, as a typical high school student I had played sports, joined a music ensemble, and did my community service at the local firehouse. High school lacks those brand new things that you can really only try out in college though (UR has over 200 school funded clubs). For example, I was reading on the school website about the college radio station WRUR and immediately it was something I wanted to do. So, during the activities fair, that was the first table I went for to make sure they had my e-mail address and that I would get invited to their general interest meeting. The radio station taught me a couple things during my first year of college. First, it’s incredibly entertaining to have your grandmother call you at the station at 1 am to request a song and tell you how much she loves you, and second, when your show is from 1-2am on Thursday night it makes it that much harder to make it to Friday class at 9am.
Clubs have also led me to unexpected things. My freshman year, an RA on my floor kept telling me about how she plays the carillon. My first question was, “What the hell is a carillon?” When she told me it was a playable bell tower of over 23 bells, my next question was, “We have one of those?” Turns out we have a 50 bell carillon sitting right up top in the rotunda of Rush Rhees library. Being a musical person I decide, “Hey, this is free, I like making music, and subjecting everyone else on campus to listen to me sounds like fun.” Turns out this was a pretty good decision because I get to go where most people are only allowed twice a year, and I do it a couple times a month. Not only that but when people ask me what instruments I play and I say carillon, the look on their face is priceless. Had it not been for the fact that we had a club dedicated to playing this instrument, I probably never would have even known about it.
One of the best things about joining clubs in college is that this is where you’re probably gonna make the majority of your friends. I was most definitely nervous about making friends coming into college and found out through clubs I made the most and the best. While I would say the majority of my good friends came from my fraternity, my other really good friends came from joining MERT (the on campus emergency medical group). See, going into college I was thinking that I still wanted a really good EMT experience, and that doing the on campus group would really kill the amount of cool calls I went on. However, when I passed their table during the activities fair, temptation (and the flyer someone shoved in my hand) made me put my name down. I figured I would apply purely to see if I would get in and who knew, maybe I’d like it. Today, I look back as that being probably the best decision of my life because the social aspect of being in an on campus group wouldn’t have come if I joined a town ambulance. I now have many friends in the group (all people interested in emergency medicine and helping people), and am second in command in leading it; and couldn’t be happier.
These are just a few ways I came to realize how awesome the club experience is here and I could keep going as I am in more groups than this. Come activities fair September 3rd, just take my advice and give your e-mail to each group that looks interesting to you. You may stay with the group or you may not, but in the end you made some friends interested in the same stuff you are and hopefully got to try something new. See you this fall!
P.S. Speaking of clubs, use your meal plan clubs before you use your declining, you’ll thank me come fall term finals when you have 0 clubs and 100 dollars declining to spend on energy drinks, you can’t club those!