Written by Jessica Wartski
When I was younger, I had a lot of expectations about what would happen at uni. My siblings are a generation above me and watching them—alongside a heap of tv shows and movies depicting the American college experience—gave me a lot of anticipation for a life full of interesting study topics, a vibrant campus culture, and fun social experiences with new friends!
Once I started at uni, however, I found my experience to be quite different to that. I was studying what I wanted to study, I had control over how I spent almost all of my time, and I was surrounded by people with similar paths and passions. Yet, I wasn’t really connecting with anyone. Campus quickly became a place to go to class and then head home.
I’ve since found that this is a common experience. The few people I saw who were finding university to be more like I imagined often had one big thing in common: clubs.
Clubs and societies are created and run by students who want the uni life that people used to have. That’s what I wanted, so I joined a club. Here’s why you should too!
1. You want to learn something new or develop your skills.
Clubs exist in a bunch of forms: you have clubs that are for people studying the same things, from similar cultures, share beliefs, or are interested in a likeminded community. And then there are clubs that are all about activities. These can be athletic, artistic, or some obscure hobby that had never crossed your mind before.
Most clubs welcome all skill levels. I stopped doing anything sporty very early on in high school, but Deakin Cheer and Dance quickly put me on a team full of other absolute beginners (that consistently places in competitions!), Deakin Dance Club would happily welcome me at any session, and Deakin Voice treated me and my untrained voice the same way as their definitely trained, beautifully sounding, singers.
2. You want to be more employable.
The real reason you’re at uni is to get the degree that’ll land you the career you want. Well, for most good jobs it isn’t actually that easy. A lot of people will have your degree. You need to set yourself apart. Clubs are a great avenue for this!
Most obviously, if there’s a club that’s focused on what you’re studying they will have events to help you get involved in your industry or to gain skills. Then there are clubs like Deakin Networking and Entrepreneurship Society who are focused on networking, encouraging professional and developmental opportunities, and all-around improving your employability.
Involvement in most clubs will equip you with transferable skills and real experience. A lot of the activities-based clubs are big on teamwork and perseverance, while clubs like Deakin Debating Society can do wonders for your confidence, presentation, and speaking abilities.
There’s even more to be gained if you take on a role within a club. Many of the sporting clubs have coaching opportunities, the Deakin Writers Club offers professional editing and publishing opportunities, Bustco members have several stage production offerings, and most clubs have committee and executive positions covering events management, financial management, social media, and positions focused on leadership and teamwork.
I’ve gained a tremendous amount from being the Deakin Writers Club Secretary and can confidently say that a lot of my own employability has come from my involvement with the club.
3. You want to have fun and make friends.
This is the core reason that you definitely should join a club.
Nowadays, the majority of people leave university with one or two friends at most. A lot of people don’t really make any friends at uni. Clubs are, undoubtedly, the best way to make sure that you do make friends.
If you’re interested in social events, casual gatherings, game nights, trivia nights, balls, bar nights, or really any event, clubs are the primary organisers. Attending these events are the way to meet people and to have that fun, social university experience that generations before could from just hanging around campus.
Every social event that a club puts on has three purposes: for the organisers to see or meet people, for the members to meet people, and for everyone involved to have a nice time.
Unlike classes, where people are there to learn and it’s rarely clear whether a person is open to interactions beyond that, in club spaces people are undoubtedly open to forming connections and friendships!
This means you’re always welcome, you’re always wanted, and you’re guaranteed to take something positive from the experience. That positive thing could be as simple as the food provided, or as big as meeting your best friend.
Almost every friend that I’ve made at uni has come from being involved with a club, and every trimester they’ve substantially enhanced my enjoyment. Now when I watch those American movies or hear my sisters talk about their university years, I don’t feel like I’m missing out.
I know you don’t want to miss out on it too. So, I look forward to seeing you at a club event soon!
You can meet (and join!) all of the Burwood clubs tomorrow from 11am. Find out more and register your attendance here.
Otherwise, if you’ve missed clubs day this week, you can find every Deakin club here. If you want more info, don’t be afraid to email or message a club on facebook/instagram. Clubs love new members and will happily answer any questions you have (trust me, because I’m often a person answering them)!
Jessica Wartski joined about 10 clubs when she started studying at Deakin in 2015. In 2017 she joined a more reasonable amount and finally started going to events, which resulted in her becoming Secretary of the Deakin Writers Club in late 2019 (a position she still holds). The only thing she’d change is to have started getting involved earlier.