Music, business, engineering, dance, creative writing. Whatever your interests are, there is likely a student organization for it at your university, and dedicating the time to try one, or a few, that fit your interests will benefit you greatly in the short and the long term. And if your dream club doesn't exist, you can always start your own. You might be thinking, "I'm here to get a degree, why add something that's going to distract me from that?" If you resonate with that, this post is for you. Because, while it is an extra time commitment, there are so many benefits!
You get to meet people with similar interests and create a community
It will help you develop people skills that will help you professionally down the line
It is a networking opportunity
You get to add it to your resume. We've talked to several recruiters, and they have all mentioned they pay attention to extra-curricular activities when reviewing resumes.
You get to do something that you enjoy
Take it from Eastside alums!
Eastside class of 2022
Currently at Berea College in Kentucky
I'm a student at Berea College, in Kentucky. I know, Kentucky right? That's exactly why I'm working at a center called Espacio Cultural Latinx. The center's main purpose is to be there for the Latinx community within the school. Being involved in this center has allowed me to interact with people that I tend to relate more to, but it has also allowed me to become a part of a community that reminds me of home. It honestly has helped me get through my homesickness the first few weeks I arrived in Kentucky by supporting me mentally and emotionally.
Being involved in this center has allowed me to interact with people that I tend to relate more to, but it has also allowed me to become a part of a community that reminds me of home. It honestly has helped me get through my homesickness the first few weeks I arrived in Kentucky by supporting me mentally and emotionally.
You can basically talk to anyone because the students are welcoming and everyone is in the same boat. We all are trying to get through the school year and that's what connects us. Working for a few hours is one of my highlights everyday simply because you see many students come in smiling and excited to be there, even just to grab a coffee or study.
Honestly, being part of this center has allowed me to meet new people, expand my network, and learn new tactics for the upcoming year. It's has allowed me to have a community where I can feel I belong, especially after moving to a new state.
I encourage you to find that community that reminds you of home. That's the key to stay connected and focus on why you went to college in the first place.
Eastside class of 2016
Graduated from Gonzaga University in 2020
When I applied to Gonzaga University, I never thought I would attend that institution. I applied just to apply, but I soon found myself taking a risk and choosing Gonzaga to be my home for the next four years. The transition to a school out of state was a bit difficult, not because I was homesick -- I was actually very excited to explore a new state -- but it was a cultural shock to learn that it was a predominantly white institution.
My first year, I applied for a job on-campus at our cultural center in an attempt to find a community. It was difficult for me to find a space where I felt like I belonged on campus. At Eastside, I took advantage of the fact that everyone looked liked me or shared similar identities and goals. At Gonzaga, everywhere I turned, I saw people that I couldn’t identify with or understand. However, once I started to attend club meetings more frequently, I began to find my community. I participated in La Raza Latina, the Latinx cultural club, Connections -- a youth mentoring program, and I was hired as the program intern for the Unity Multicultural Education Center (UMEC). I also regularly attended some of the other cultural club meetings with my friends to learn more about their cultures and meet other BIPOC students. These programs are the reason I found my space at Gonzaga and learned to thrive, rather than just survive.
These programs are the reason I found my space at Gonzaga and learned to thrive, rather than just survive.
Joining clubs on campus taught me leadership skills to help supplement what I was learning in the classroom. In the classroom, we learned about leadership theories, but there weren’t always opportunities to put that knowledge to practice. However, in clubs, we used the advocacy and leadership skills we learned to advocate for more resources for BIPOC students and to put on large-scale events to showcase our culture. Not only was I adding to my resume by joining these clubs, but I was genuinely forming a family on campus. Through the cultural clubs, I was also able to attend conferences with my friends and network with other students in the region. It was a nice insight to how the other universities worked and how they compared to Gonzaga or differed.
Volunteering with Connections gave me an opportunity to explore the greater Spokane community and get outside the “Gonzaga bubble”. I got to spend every Thursday at one of the local middle schools working with the youth and focusing on developing college and career activities for programming. Serving as a mentor and then as a student leader allowed me to understand the program better and know what worked and did not work with the youth. I learned a lot from this experience; I gained organizational skills and learned how to develop people skills and adapt activities to best meet the needs of our students. These opportunities allowed me to open up and see how many people had similar interests to me at school. I no longer felt cultural shock, but rather I had built a strong and supportive community. Doing these activities helped me find my passions, but it also allowed me to express myself and my ideals and to fight for what I believed was right. These activities were the best part of Gonzaga and truly made my college experience amazing.
"I learned a lot from this experience; I gained organizational skills and learned how to develop people skills and adapt activities to best meet the needs of our students. These opportunities allowed me to open up and see how many people had similar interests to me at school."
Eastside class of 2017
Graduated from UC Riverside in 2021
Before considering going into college, I knew I wanted to continue dancing in some shape, way, or form. Luckily, I was accepted to UCR that I not only knew as a research university, but a place where fellow Eastside alumni went to study their chosen coursework and joined a competitive hip-hop dance team called Collective Faction (CF). While I was actively involved for only one year—my first year—it honestly left a big mark of my college experience and life in general. I met people from different walks of life, yet related backgrounds of passion for dance. And it reminds me of a collective community that welcomed a safe space for everyone, including myself, who come from whatever level of dance or training they showed up with. Going to dance practice 3 times a week, or sometimes during what we’d call “hell week” 5 times a week, it grounded me to allow myself time for play and escape.
I genuinely got to do something that I love in the midst of the struggle as a first-generation bi Pinay college student. Even though it was competitive and frustrating at times (like when I couldn’t get certain moves down even if my life depended on it), I learned how to grow within the art of movement and in community, especially with other queer individuals and the collective struggle and hope to survive college. So for those moments of time, when I didn’t have words to form from the impacts of impostor syndrome that I was failing college, I got to leave it all out in our shared space of dancers and movers. It was curated for our shared talent and vision to get to know ourselves, bodily movements, and evolve artistically and personally.
What has your experience with campus clubs been like? If you'd like to share your perspective, email firstname.lastname@example.org.