To join or not to join

Jihoon Park/File

“Interested in business consulting?” asks the slick black jacket with a strange combination of capital letters emblazoned on the front. Edgy glasses frames peer down at us as we scramble to think of a polite way to mask the fact that the ambiguous concept of business consulting, and the inevitable human interaction that comes with it, gives us hives. We eventually mumble out some excuse and the proponent retracts their aesthetically pleasing flyer and coolly responds to our timid head shakes as we run for the hills. You’d think we’d be better at dealing with this situation, given that interactions identical to this one happen every day.

If we had a dime for every time we were asked if we had an interest in business consulting or social activism while scrambling through Sproul Plaza, we’d have enough money to have saved that darn environment by now. Between Calapalooza and the informational fliers that plaster every campus bathroom, there’s no shortage of information on organizations for us to join here at Berkeley. Yet somehow, the endless options don’t always result in our actual involvement. We at the Clog are here to investigate the reason for this seeming paradox.

At times, the sheer scope of it all can be a bit much. The diversity of the multitude of opportunities presented before us has us hopping from idea to idea like the Energizer Bunny hyped off on Red Bull. Do we want to cure world hunger? Maybe build homes in Guatemala? Develop and safely apply nuclear science and technology for public benefit? With over 1,041 organizations on campus, we could go to a new general meeting every day for the next 148 weeks and still not have tried them all. While this may sound daunting, the good news is that with all of these options, there’s bound to be a group that we’d like. The only tricky part is finding said group in the sea of flyers that’s been collecting in your backpack.

So you finally find your true calling in life, the rapid and overwhelming changing of profile pictures and cover photos on Facebook has led you to “make the best decision you’ve made during your time here at Cal” and join an organization. Congratulations! You’re just a quick application and interview round (or three) away from unlocking the full potential of your college experience. Unless it’s a pre-health frat. In which case, you should just sell your soul upstream now.

In all honesty, it’s much easier to stay holed up in Main Stacks than attend the biweekly meetings that we’ve gotten four emails about. (note to self: be more thoughtful before scrawling our email address on every clipboard on Sproul Plaza). Lord knows it’s even easier to stay in bed on the mornings when there are actual functions to attend. But if you look around you’re bound to find someone who genuinely enjoys the people and projects they surround themselves with. Regardless of the sleep they lose, or free time they compromise, people who find the right group on campus are willing to put their life on the line for the cause they care so deeply about. So when faced with the question: to join or not to join? Might as well give it a try.

Contact Amanda Chung at [email protected].