By Kaylee Johnson
I was never a club person. I rolled my eyes at pep rallies in high school, and my one season of field hockey was short lived after I kept scoring for the wrong team. But I think I should have been a club person, because I go into local malls and restaurants and people from my high school know my name, and I don’t recognize them. It’s always the same speech about where they are going to college and what they are majoring in, and I feel forced to pretend I know who they are with a smile slapped across my face. I don’t regret not being involved in clubs or sports in high school, but knowing I am in the process of making my college experience more interactive and social gives me great delight.
In the fall I auditioned for my college’s dance club, and received an e-mail two days later congratulating me on making it in. In one semester, the dance team went through a lot of drama and adjustments, but overall I considered my experiences with them to be great and memorable. I came in as a transfer student in the fall, so I had no friends or connections on campus, but the dance team introduced me to 40 young women, many of whom are in my classes; therefore we can study together and share notes. It’s also nice to be able to say hello to people you know on campus, and make acquaintances. We had group bonding days and events several days throughout the semester, and by the end, we were all very friendly with each other. I found great warmth in that our time together extended outside of my college’s dance studio.
Before this, I danced for 13 years, but seeing the girls doing flawless pirouettes and leaps during the auditions made me insecure and uneasy. I was open during the semester about my mistakes and imperfections, and I made a point to laugh at them. What I found is, there will usually be someone more experienced than you on a sports team or in a club, but you should not let them intimidate you to the point where you prevent yourself from joining. Surprisingly, many of the dancers were completely inexperienced and joined the club out of interest and desire for socialization. I’m a natural introvert, and it would have been easy for me to ignore my fellow club members, but I made my presence known.
I think a lot of students turn their noses up to clubs and teams; because there are social media accounts for every fan base, interest, and hobby, why would students physically meet weekly in classrooms or gyms? It’s also easy to ignore people at a community college, because the environments are usually less intimate, and students attending them are usually very busy. No matter how busy you are, it’s important to take time out for personal growth. Academics are obviously a vast element of college, but so is socialization, because as you grow into a true adult, your social interactions become more mature. I would argue that a healthy amount of socialization would increase grade point averages.
I’m a college sophomore, and everybody and everything from high schools seems like a blur. Friendships fade, and people grow. When you sign up for clubs in college, you are allowing yourself to meet people with similar interests and hobbies. I’m from a small rural town that lacked diversity, so college exposed me to people from all walks of life. Every dancer on my team had different political beliefs, values, ancestry, families, and experiences, but we all came together and danced every week. Learning about people who are different than you can help you grow as an individual, and clubs tend to attract a variety of students. Overall, clubs and teams can provide enriching social experiences for every type of student, and they are worth the energies and commitments required.
An Education major, Kaylee Johnson has attended Adirondack Community College and now attends the College of Saint Rose.