Success, experience valuable from sources outside the classroom

By Anthony Szudarski

What are you going to do now?

Classes are starting and while that’s the most important thing to keep in mind, many of us are going to be left with free time to fill between classes, studying and work.

Now, you could spend that time playing video games, catching up on your favorite Netflix shows or even reading some books you’ve been meaning to get around to.

Or with “more than 200 student organizations,” according to NIU’s Student Organization web page, you could get involved with the campus community and make some great memories.

Some of the most publicized organizations on campus are fraternities and sororities, and for good reason. According to USA Today College, “since 1825, all but three U.S. presidents have been members of a fraternity.” And while many are worried by hazing scandals we’ve all heard about, what many don’t hear about is organizations taking part in various forms of philanthropy and community service.

“I love my environmental clubs and my volunteer organization. I love it!” said Kathryn Olson, senior environmental studies major. She is a member of the coed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega and the environmental studies club. When I asked her why she joined the organizations she said it is because she wanted to get more involved on campus and to make new friends.

“I highly recommend [people join organizations]. That’s the only way to do college,” Olson said. “If you’re not part of anything then that’s not the college experience.”

There are also clubs around campus — like the quidditch team — for those who don’t want to go Greek. That’s right: quidditch, the sport from Harry Potter where you fly around on brooms. Unfortunately, the team can’t fly (yet) but they still have a lot of fun, said sophomore psychology major Jacquelin Fink.

“I joined quidditch because it looked fun, and it is,” Fink said. For anyone who is interested, it’s also a full contact sport, so you will go home with bruises.

The NIU’s Sports Club web page lists a bunch of clubs through campus recreation like aikido, fencing and ultimate Frisbee, to name a few. If none of these seem to interest you, don’t worry: Many clubs and organizations will be sure to advertize throughout the school year all around campus in various forms. I’ve seen clubs advertise by putting fliers on the bulletin board in DuSable Hall and chalking the sidewalks on popular routes.

You may be wondering what else you can get out of these organizations. Truth be told, other than the possible resume boost, maybe not much. But from my own experience in Alpha Phi Omega and from what many others in all sorts of organizations will tell you, the experiences and friends are always worth the time commitment.

You can go through college going to class and working and you’ll get by fine and I’m sure you’ll have your share of fun times, but you may be missing out on stories you’ll be telling for the rest of your life.