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November 13 , 2003
 Student View


You can find me in the club

Katie Norman
Katie Norman
Despite numerous campus clubs, societies and centres, the majority of students appear to be apathetic towards the extracurricular activities that exist on campus. If not apathy then it is a lack of interest keeping post-secondary students out of extracurricular activities. Gone are the days when one had volleyball practice on Mondays, drama club rehearsals on Tuesdays and Thursdays and social justice meetings on Fridays during lunch. In high school it seemed that everyone was involved in some activity or another. In fact many people used their extracurricular activities to define themselves. I remember very few of my peers who were involved in nothing outside of the classroom.

Unfortunately with the receipt of a high school diploma you get the economic burden of having to fund a post-secondary education. Many students who had never worked before take on jobs the summer after high school ends and then remain in the workforce until their mid-60s or later. The process of maintaining your performance in the office and the classroom leaves many students with little free time to spend on the activities that once filled their weekday afternoons. More emphasis should be placed on maintaining non-work or non-academic activities. Often it is such activities that round out your resumé of babysitting and fast-food jobs. If you add a membership to a political organization you automatically have some volunteer experience. Yet despite the benefits of staying involved many people choose not to.

A recent survey of a second-year political science class revealed that only five out of approximately 40 students were involved in any activities outside of school and a part-time job. While this service is not to be assumed to be the pinnacle of statistically representative information, it did highlight the fact that many students simply are not getting involved. In fact after the survey a discussion ensued in which people feared that getting involved would harm their schoolwork. Naturally this piqued my interest in doing some research on the relationship between extracurricular involvement and university performance. (Stay tuned later for developments).

Whether it is a heavy course load, a demanding part-time job, other responsibilities or a fear of marks slipping, there are reasons people give for their lack of activity. This at least indicates that it has been a conscious decision for people to not get involved. However many students said that after graduation they would pursue the volunteer activities that they had been neglecting during their time at Memorial. Is this logical though? If this is their logic won’t other things always take precedence? A job? The kids? A friend of mine told me a quote that I find very appropriate: “If you want to get something done give it to a busy person.”

There always seems to be some students who can pull off excellent marks, maintain a 30-hour-a-week job and have a blocked social calendar with a few volunteer activities tossed in along the way. Naturally this is what we all hope to attain, but sadly such is not always the case. If this doesn’t seem realistic, try attending weekly meetings for the society that your major or faculty has. This isn’t too much of a commitment for anyone and can be a springboard to other activities.

The recent clubs and societies fair held on Oct. 29 offered a rather poor showing. As a representative for one of the societies I noticed a decline in turnout from similar previous events such as the Orientation Fair. Perhaps the last minute change in date or the lack of publicity for the event was a factor. Actually, I hope one of these was the factor. This is a better answer than the alternative that students simply aren’t all that interested in getting involved in extracurricular activities.

On last count 47 clubs and societies existed on campus, with interests from the academic, to the political, to the religious. While the mandates differ, each allows students the opportunity to receive an experience in university that exists outside the classroom. If there isn’t a club that fits your particular interest you can always start up your own society. (Check with MUNSU for information on starting up a society for next semester.)

In reading a recent fluffy fashion magazine (this is not an insult, I am a big fan of fluffy magazines) I found a rather useful interview with some top human resource managers who divulged their hiring secrets. Naturally these follow conventional wisdom and favoured the well-rounded candidate. If this is how the majority of employers feel, it will be those who stay involved that get ahead. The beauty of this is that any type of involvement is beneficial. Involvement shows dedication and interest, two major employability skills.

For more information on the currently ratified clubs and societies see



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