Interested in business? Interested in a cappella? Want to help teach kids? Want to fight climate change? As the school year starts, you’ll be bombarded by all these flyers on Sproul. You want to join a student organization, but there are so many to choose from. How do you pick the right one? There are various categories of extracurricular activities ranging from academic and professional to cultural and social clubs. Some clubs are a combination of multiple categories. If you are looking to get involved, here is a guide on how to pick the right student organization.
Meet the members
You may change career paths 10 or 20 years down the line, but something that lasts throughout and after college is the relationships you build. Even if the club has a professional and academic focus, you should decide whether or not you want to join by meeting the members. Are these members people you want to spend time with and keep in touch with after college? If so, go for it.
See what alumni are doing
People who spend time together usually grow together towards a common direction. Check what the club’s alumni are up to, because their trajectories may be similar to how yours might turn out to be if you decide to join. Furthermore, one of the greatest things about joining a club is meeting the alumni, hearing their stories and getting advice.
Look at the club’s long-term outlook
After you graduate, it’s great to have a connection to campus, such as the student organization you were part of as an undergraduate still functioning and thriving. Does the club have the potential to last in the long run? Are the members enthusiastic about forming a lasting community? Do you have the interest and confidence to contribute to its lasting? Join a club that you see enduring long past your graduation.
Ask yourself what you can bring
While you want to find a community that can support you and help you grow, you also should be at a club you can give back to — somewhere you can contribute to by being who you are. Your student organization should empower you to be your best self, and at the same time, you should ask yourself, what can you bring and how can you contribute? Be ready to learn, but also to give back and change the organization for the better.
Finding a community is hard. Especially at UC Berkeley where there are more than 1,200 student clubs and organizations, it’s easy to feel lost. Remember that it’s okay to not find the right one the first time! Sometimes you get lucky, and other times it takes time and trial. When you do find one, put in some effort to get to know the members and contribute, because you will get out what you put in!