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Davis, California

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Column: You should be taking advantage of clubs and student events

Extracurriculars can be the key to a good college experience

By OWEN RUDERMAN — opruderman@ucdavis.edu 

UC Davis has a lot to offer its students, with a variety of engaging classes and fun school events like Picnic Day. But if these are the only things you’re taking advantage of during your time at UC Davis, you should consider checking out of some of the greatest experiences college has to offer you — extracurriculars.

There are a bunch of different extracurricular activities that you can participate in at UC Davis, from clubs focusing on specific majors or careers to ones celebrating video game music or baking. There are also club sports, like tennis, and various events, like comedy or poetry night. With so many different clubs and activities to choose from, there’s bound to be some that snag your interest.

One of the best things about these extracurriculars is that they are, for the most part, run by students. As a result, joining them allows you to easily meet with your peers outside of the classroom. Clubs also let you meet people who have a different major than you, who you might never meet otherwise. Because you’re in the same club, it’s likely that you have similar interests as well, so making friends becomes a whole lot easier.

We’re all coming out of a long lockdown, and sometimes it feels a little awkward to try to make new friends. For me personally, I’ve kind of forgotten how to effectively socialize. But when school came back in person, I went ahead and got involved in the clubs and student culture that I was interested in. Even though I was a little nervous, I’m glad I took that leap. It definitely helped kickstart my social life again.

One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that it can be hard to find a club that seems interesting. And even if you do, it can be confusing to find out where you need to go or what you need to do to join. I think this is an area where the school falls flat. I’m a transfer student, and I’ve actually attended two different colleges before I arrived at UC Davis. Both of those other colleges would host a club rush day once each semester. All of the clubs, or at least most of them, would gather around the central area of campus and set up a booth. This made it so much easier to find clubs that were interesting and people who seemed nice. I got to walk around and talk to current club members, ask questions, maybe sign up for the email list and then be on my merry way. 

UC Davis has the student involvement fair, but not everybody hears about it in time. More outreach would be helpful to get the word out to more students, and it would be nice to have it once every quarter than once a year in the fall. For many incoming students, fall quarter can be hectic, and you might not know what you want out of a club until you’ve had time to settle in. 

But even with the student involvement fair, we should update the club website to be a bit less overwhelming. There are hundreds of clubs that are sorted alphabetically, and even though there are filters for specific interests, I often don’t know exactly what I’m looking for and am waiting for a club to catch my eye.

In my opinion, one of the best things about college is the friends you make along the way. It can be rough out here, and having a good group of people to support you can help a ton. By taking advantage of the various extracurriculars during your time at UC Davis, it’s possible to form many relationships. A lot of clubs are free, or at least give you a two-week trial period. It doesn’t hurt to show up to a meeting or two and see if it’s your vibe. My advice to you — get out of your comfort zone a little bit and go to that club meeting you’re on the fence about. For most of us, college only happens once. Make the most of it!

Written by: Owen Ruderman — opruderman@ucdavis.edu 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie.


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