Since it’s that time of year again, I thought I’d recollect on my first few weeks at uni. It’s O-Week. Rows of gazebos with smiling, but dreadfully intimidating, older students are holding clipboards. Swarms of people and the stench of freshers in the air (sorry). I’ve collected 50 flyers, three tote bags, and am scouting for more freebies.
But I’m starting to get overwhelmed. There are too many clubs to choose from. I could learn French, do rock climbing, or even do my part with Amnesty International. Although I could technically sign up for everything, that’s obviously not ideal. There are only 24 hours in a day, and I have uni work too.
To sum up my first-year extracurricular experience, I bit off way more than I can chew. That’s why I’ve compiled some advice on how to not sign up for 50 clubs and actually choose the right club for you.
So, decision time. My advice is to consider whether the club actually sparks joy, so-to-speak. Are you genuinely interested in the club’s activities? Do you really see yourself turning up to the club’s meetups? This is especially the case if the club costs a pretty penny. Don’t burn a hole in your pocket if you don’t see yourself turning up to more than the first event.
Also, there’s nothing wrong with joining a club for employability’s sake. Extracurriculars can add a lot of value to your CV and are often expected of you. But if you don’t see yourself attending say, the debating society’s weekly get-togethers and have absolutely nil interest in public speaking… give it a solid pass.
Like for me *flashback to 2016*,
I signed up for quite a few that I shouldn’t have. In one case, I signed up for something that I thought would go well with my degree. I went to one meetup and then, as a small and scared fresher, was too afraid and embarrassed to return. In hindsight, I should have gotten over myself and just persevered through my anxiety. But I also know that I really didn’t have much of an interest in the club other than I thought it sounded cool. So TDLR don’t sign up for clubs that you like the idea of, but you know you’re not genuinely interested in.
Joining a club which aligns with your degree can be helpful for meeting others studying similar majors and may help your employability. But don’t be afraid to venture out and try something new. Many clubs welcome newbies, so don’t hold yourself back if you’ve always wanted to become a black belt in karate or learn about art history.
I want to note, it is not to say that if you don’t see yourself attending the club, you should pass up entirely on extracurriculars. The first year of uni is incredibly daunting. You will always be stepping outside of your comfort zone. It’s unavoidable. So it makes sense to start off with joining a club despite how frightening it may seem. Clubs are a great way to meet new people. It’s no secret that UoA can be very socially isolating. Engaging in UoA culture takes extra effort, so joining clubs is a great way to engage in uni culture and make some friends. Don’t rely on tutorials’ ice-breakers as a way to meet your next best mate. Start with a club where you can meet those with shared interests and kickstart your uni life.
Lastly, if you’re overwhelmed by the gazebos (fair enough), you can check out the clubs and societies at www.auckland.ac.nz/en/on-campus/life-on-campus/clubs-societies.html.