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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Buffalo chapter.

Extracurricular activities have always been an important part of my life as a student. Growing up, I was one of those kids who had many interests. Writing, drawing, and dancing are my main hobbies, so throughout middle school and high school I got involved in the school paper, the arts and media club, and the dance team. I also explored other interests like film, photography, and social justice through electives, smaller student organizations and events outside of school.

Now that I am in college where I have more control over my time and have more access to all kinds of extracurriculars, I have definitely taken advantage of this opportunity to explore many clubs and organizations. Having had such enriching experiences in doing so, I write this article to show fellow students the value of extracurriculars in college. Here are my top five reasons for why you should get more involved on campus:

Academic and Professional Development

          If you need external motivation to do things that you do not need to do, then this reason is for you. In college there are plenty of organizations that promote success in your field of study and future career. These may be in the form of clubs for a specific major or academic department, pre-professional clubs, sororities and fraternities, among many others. Such extracurriculars give you opportunities to network with peers, mentors, professionals and potential employers in your field. They can provide you resources such as study groups, research opportunities and internships, which can help you acquire useful knowledge, skills and experiences to excel in school and at work. This type of extracurricular is especially helpful for those who wish to go to graduate school or pursue careers in law, business and medicine. Although you learn many things about your field in your classes, there are other things like applying for graduate programs, creating a good resume, and general skills of professionalism that your professors do not teach you. Fortunately, these kinds of organizations help you learn those important things and connect with people who can support you.

Explore Your Interests

          Joining clubs that focus on a particular interest is a great way to hone in on your talents and delve into your passions. Some examples of this type of organization are sports teams, hobby clubs, student publications and advocacy groups. Just because you are in college does not mean that you have to stop doing the things you love to do. Depending on the opportunities you had growing up, college might actually be the first time you get to really explore your non-academic interests. This type of extracurricular gives you an avenue to express yourself, develop your abilities and just have fun.

It may be easy to view college simply as a means to an end, whether that be getting a degree or a job. However, it is also a time where you are free to enjoy a lot of things that you may not be able to once you have more adult responsibilities. Getting involved in this way gives you a break from the grind of school and an opportunity to grow not just as a student or future worker, but also as a person.

Try New Things

          College is a time for new experiences and there are so many extracurricular activities that allow you to try new things. For instance, there could be a hobby club holding a workshop on a craft you have never done. A cultural organization may have an event that celebrates important traditions of a culture you know nothing about. Or perhaps you have no experience with volunteering, but there is a student-led outreach targeted at helping marginalized people in your community.

College clubs and organizations help expose students to experiences that they might otherwise not have discovered or have access to in their day-to-day lives. There is inherent value in experiencing new things in that it expands your understanding of the world, other people, and yourself. It challenges you to think outside of what you already know or what you are used to. Having the ability to look at things from different perspectives can help you face the complexities of the real world when you graduate.

Find Your People

          Getting involved is one of the best ways to make new friends in college. Finding a good support system in college is crucial for your mental wellbeing, especially when facing the stress of academics, work or other responsibilities. Of course, you can make friends in your classes, but there is a greater likelihood that you will remain friends with those you see more often. If you are diligent in attending club meetings or run for an officer position, you will see the same people quite regularly. Additionally, you may have more in common with people you meet in clubs than those you meet in class because such organizations are founded on common career paths, interests or identities. These communities are all the more important when you are a minority. Clubs and organizations can provide a safe space for you to be yourself without fear of hate or rejection from those around you. Having people who you can trust and rely on can make navigating the challenges of college and life much easier.

Find Yourself

          Last but not least, extracurriculars allow you to know yourself better. The types of organizations you join reflect your goals, interests and identities. The club events and activities you take part in show you what things you enjoy or find fulfilling. The commitment you have for certain extracurriculars tell you a lot about what you value the most as you manage your limited time and energy. The communities you identify with reveal your background and the kinds of experiences you have had in your life. The friends you make teach you about what kinds of people help you grow. All of these things give you a clearer picture of who you are and who you want to be.

          Considering these five benefits of joining clubs and organizations in college, I strongly encourage you to get more involved in whatever capacity you can. Admittedly, it takes a lot of effort to get involved. You need to be good at managing your time and also be willing to make sacrifices when juggling all your responsibilities. Yet, it is precisely this intentionality that makes extracurriculars worth it. You do not do it out of obligation, you do it out of genuine passion. And it is that passion that drives you to become the best version of yourself.

Rain Ligot

Buffalo '26

Rain is an international student from the Philippines, and a junior at the University at Buffalo as a Philosophy, Politics and Economics major. She loves to write and cares deeply about social issues. With such passions, she hopes to go to law school and contribute to causes that matter to her.