Yet, at the same time we are told by our parents to “challenge our comfort zone” by joining organizations and expanding beyond just academics. It’s tough for me to say this, but we should probably listen to them.
Not everyone agrees with me: For some students, the thought of balancing out schoolwork, a social life plus the additional commitment to spontaneous, non-academic groups on campus is too overwhelming. What they fail to realize is that clubs, no matter how useless down the road, will enrich their college experience and make it worthwhile.
Weinberg sophomore Megan McPherson is the type of student who embraces non-academic organizations. So far at Northwestern, she’s been involved with the Anime Club, NOM, Cirque du NU and is currently the co-chair for the Happiness Club.The latter is where she feels most at home.
“One of the reason’s I have stuck with it and am so passionate about Happiness Club is because every time I go to an exec meeting, or even just a general meeting, those people are some of my favorite people on this whole entire campus,” she said.
Although she’s excited to play an active role in this organization, McPherson acknowledges that this club might not have value on a job résumé because it “doesn’t mean a lot to people who don’t go to Northwestern.” Even her mother questioned why she wasn’t joining so called “academic” clubs like Mock Trial, which might be looked upon favorably by an employer. Nonetheless, she believes’ that it’s a worthwhile commitment.
So what’s McPherson's advice for students who believe that joining “academic” clubs is a necessary part of the college experience?
“I would try to supplement it with as much fun as possible,” she said. “Even if you’re doing a club that’s really intense, and you have a lot of work to do, having people in the club that you get along with that have your back will really help."
Personally, I pushed off joining clubs of any kind the first two quarters of my freshman year and it’s safe to say that this decision was one of my biggest regrets to date. It wasn’t until Spring Quarter when I officially joined a fraternity and became a part of the writing team for a play, that I really believed my tuition was being well spent.
Will this fraternity or play that I’m working on help me three years down the road when I’m in an employer’s office looking to become a sports journalist? Doubtful, unless he or she was a member of Greek life or happened to be a fan of the arts. Yet, whether or not these clubs give me an advantage in the job market later on, isn’t something that has entered my mind of late.
Before Murmurs, the play that I’m working on, I hadn’t been involved in anything theatrical since third grade when I had a small role in my school’s production of Bye Bye Birdie. In middle and high school, when I was still concerned with what others thought of me, I chose not to try out for anything because theater wasn’t what the “cool” kids did.
College has provided me with that second chance. Now that I’m part of the creative process for a play, I feel that I’ve escaped out of my shell and discovered a more creative side of myself. I didn’t need to be involved in theater for any particular reason. I just wanted to, because I thought it would be fun. If only all of us had this mentality, we’d be a much happier student body.