Embrace the Unexpected: Why joining a student organization was the best decision I ever made

This Clubs Day, learn to appreciate the unforeseen benefits of signing up

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Clubs Day booths on SFU’s Burnaby Campus
Clubs Day returns in person for the first time in two years (photo taken before COVID-19 pandemic). Photo: Gudrun Wai-Gunnarsson / The Peak

By Luke Faulks, Opinions Editor

This May, for the first time in two years, Clubs Day is back in person at SFU! From May 17–19,  SFU’s diverse set of clubs and student organizations will be on display for potential recruits, from the Bowlers to the Introverts, the Knitters to the Optimists. And you should join! But not because of the standard reasons you’re pressured to join; you should join because there’s no telling where your involvement will take you.  

 I know “join a club” is a tired piece of advice. Joining, they say, will do everything from enhance your resume to giving you a new pool of friends to just keeping you busy. Those reasons are valid, but getting involved could open up a much wider world. 

Take my case. During the pandemic, when I found myself with a bit more time on my hands, I said “yes” to a number of opportunities that came across my plate. The first big one, the one that has not stopped paying me back, was signing onto a new student journal, Gadfly. I got to be a part of the first year of this journal, SFU’s first-ever journal of undergraduate political science research back in 2020/2021. 

Yes, it looks good on my resume. Yes, I’ve been able to spend a great deal of time with some fantastic, like-minded people. That’s all a given when you join a club or student organization. What I couldn’t have seen coming were the ways in which the journal provided a stepping-off point for more learning, more skills, and ever more opportunities on and off-campus. 

Because I fell into a section editor and head copy editor roles, I’ve been able to interact with contributors throughout the review and publishing process. Getting to learn about the issues that animate members is a big, unpredictable benefit of joining. Working with other students challenged my worldview and positions in the political arena outside my climate and energy focus. 

The big spin-off effect of joining a club is following your passions to join other clubs. One of the single best things to come about from my joining Gadfly has been my tenure at The Peak. Absent an Instagram account, and in the throes of a hectic semester, I’d missed the call for applications to The Peak’s open positions. An eleventh-hour suggestion by my Gadfly editor-in-chief that I go for a staff writer position prompted an ultimately successful application to this paper. Thanks, The Peak. Thanks, Gadfly

This May, instead of carefully avoiding the eyes of the bubbly folks stationed at booths in Convocation Mall, go talk to them! If that’s not your thing, I feel you. Hit ‘em up on social media! Joining a club opens up a world of possibilities that you have no way of appreciating until you’re in the thick of it. You’ve just got to take that first leap.

If you’re interested in becoming a contributor, sign-up for pitch meetings on our website. And don’t forget to pop by the paper’s booth this Club’s Day!