by Melanie Stoss
There is a lot of pressure in college: Do well in classes. Make a lot of friends. Get to know all of your professors so you can get letters of recommendation. Volunteer. Be active (and have leadership positions) in clubs. It can be overwhelming sometimes! However, there are a couple of things I have learned regarding clubs throughout my time at Iowa State, and you might have similar struggles.
First, don’t be afraid to try a new club, even if it has nothing to do with your major or minor. There are clubs for everything, and sometimes you just need to be able to hang out with others and NOT have another academic commitment. And guess what? That’s okay! Go join that triathlon club or rock climbing club. You’ll meet new people and you’ll feel better doing something you enjoy.
Second, it’s never too late to join a club. I joined several new ones in my 6th semester here, including English Together and The International Student Ambassador Program, and I wish I would have tried them sooner. You never know what organizations might turn out to be a really good experience!
Also, it seems to be a misconception that once you’re in a club you have to stay in it. This could not be farther from the truth. If there is a club that you think is a waste of your time, money, or you just plain don’t like, nothing says that you have to be a part of it. Even if it’s for your major, there is something else you can join that can help you gain experience in your field that you can actually get excited about.
Lastly, I will speak to the leadership portion of the expectation to be superman/superwoman while in college. Try new clubs, and don’t be afraid to join a lot in the beginning just to see what they are like. You can start to whittle them down, bit by bit as you see fit. It is great to have 1 or 2 clubs that you become really involved with (and maybe even earn an executive position in), rather than 10 that you are just a member of. Try a lot at the beginning and choose your path from there. If it changes later on, then roll with it. Did I think I would be so involved with the international students office as a chemistry major? Definitely not, but my path is changing and there is nothing wrong with that.