By Jesse Stilwell, September 14 2018 —
Here’s a harsh truth — the negative aspects of joining student clubs often reflect the realities people need to deal with for their entire lives. There will always be difficult people to work with, bureaucratic hoops to jump through to achieve your goals and hours spent on activities you’d rather avoid.
That’s exactly why you should join and be involved with clubs. Once you graduate, you’ll probably start looking for a job. During summers, you will probably need a job to save money in preparation for the upcoming school year. Employers value and recognize involvement with student organizations on campus and look favourably on the experiences they grant students.
During interviews, academic achievements alone are not always enough to secure most opportunities. Employers will want evidence that prospective employees have the skills they need to work in a team, accomplish difficult tasks and get through the less glamorous aspects of a job. Merely saying, “I can plan an event” or “I can market a product” without concrete experiences to back these statements up is not very convincing to a prospective employer. While it might not be fun to constantly post your club’s events on social media or find time to hang promotional posters of your club’s work around campus, those are the stories and experiences that will benefit students the most once they enter the real world.
Not only this, but the students who are in your program or the clubs you are interested in are exactly who you should be networking with while in school. The people who are on the executive teams of clubs while students can be helpful allies after graduation. They can serve as future references. Or, if you want a job at an organization where someone you know from clubs is already working, they can help you get your foot in the door or put in a good word for you. A lot of programs outside of Haskayne at the University of Calgary don’t emphasize networking at all, so it’s up to students to find a way to meet key people that can help build a career. Clubs are an excellent place to do this.
Volunteer opportunities are hard to find in the post-graduate world and typically don’t allow you to meet people that you have a lot in common with like clubs focused on specific interest areas do. Clubs often have funding from the Students’ Union, support from academic faculty members and access to alumni networks that are invaluable to students looking to enrich their time on campus.
It’s hard to outweigh the positive aspects of joining clubs with any negativity a person could think of. Try to find time during Clubs Week or throughout the semester to introduce yourself to a club executive or attend an event to see if you could benefit from the clubs on campus.