Most of us have probably heard the oft-touted advice to “get involved on campus.” Most of us also probably brushed this off or viewed it with a professional grade seriousness. Under this mindset, we may ignore clubs that sound fun under the misguided fear of wasting time or seeming weird. Even worse, we do nothing. Remember that saying “nothing ventured, nothing gained?” That applies to basically everything in life, including offbeat organizations on campus. If that paranormal club sounds like your thing, go. If having lunch in German gets your blood pumping, there is no reason to hold yourself back.
Putting your mind to your studies is always a positive, within reason. Stopping ourselves from exploring the boundaries of our interests is not. While it can be easy to point out every reason for not going to that culture club meeting, it is also easy to not see all the opportunities that could be lurking out of sight. We can never know who we may meet, what we may learn or what experiences may arise. We can participate in things outside of our major or career plans. We are complex beings, not single tracks.
Beyond ignoring clubs, there is also the danger of letting them go by because we are scared or nervous about how the club will make us appear to others. Basing your happiness on the thoughts of others is a dangerous mindset admittedly difficult to overcome, no matter what’s in question. Would you rather have a blast playing some club ping-pong or only dream about it? Viewed in ultimatums, it sounds like a no brainer. Isolate the activity from whatever friends may think, and the choice should be clearer. Do you want to go? Is there time in your schedule? Then do it. Remember that many clubs on campus come with the friendly disclaimer that attendance is not strict. Show up for one meeting or all of them, whatever works. This also allows for a zero commitment, taste-testing approach to the cache of clubs offered here.
Holding yourself back is a dangerous thing to do, especially in early adulthood. These are the best years to experiment and figure out what you’re passionate about. If you never try, you can never know for sure. Nothing could be worse than graduating with lofty thoughts of, “what if I had just tried that?” Don’t hold yourself to invisible boundaries of what seems right or rational. There is a reason we aren’t all carbon copies with identical interests. Go and be as complex, contradictory or crew-club loving as you want.