Starting university is a whole new exciting experience — you’re finally starting the transition into a new phase of life!
As you step into this phase of adulthood, you can be sure of a lot of new changes and responsibilities coming your way. From selecting the university you’d like to go to and choosing your programme and majors to finding a new home for yourself, you’ll be faced with a lot of decisions that could leave you overwhelmed. On top of that, being a new student in a new environment adds another level of uneasiness. Why?
There’ll be A LOT of socialising which requires you to step out of your comfort zone, something many of us aren’t particularly used to.
My first day of university wasn’t a typical one. I wasn’t physically present on campus due to the global pandemic. Hence, my experience of the first day was quite different. I was already edgy because I was going to be stepping into an entirely new territory and, on top of that, all my classes were held online so there was no way of properly communicating with my peers for advice.
As an international student, I was quite nervous about the fact that I might not be able to interact properly with everyone from different backgrounds and cultures. I feared not being able to get along with them easily. However, I didn’t want to hold myself back from socialising because I knew that that would have prevented me from having the full university experience. So, I decided to join a few clubs and extracurricular activities to get out of my comfort zone!
Here’s how I’ve benefited from the different clubs as a new student.
Joining a club has a lot of benefits. For starters, you meet a bunch of new people who have come together for the same purpose. Having common interests with everyone can create a sense of comfort and spark many conversations. You start to find similarities with people, even though you’ve just met, and start to get to know them better. You learn about why they chose the club and why they stayed.
These conversations help you start new friendships and help you settle into the environment better, making you feel less homesick.
How do joining clubs help you improve your skills? Not only are you exposed to more activities of your interest, you get to do them with this newfound community. Remember, the people you choose to be around, to some capacity, influence who you become.
Say, you start talking to your friends and consulting them about your queries about a particular interest. The advice given could help you better understand things. Not only that, through the activities and conversations, it helps open your mind to discover more about your interest. Through the different collaborations with people of different experience and skills, you’ll learn new things that you might have missed or are unaware of.
Beat the monotonous daily life and experience new activities planned by the clubs or break out of your comfort zone by taking on leadership roles in the club.
If you’re feeling scared or doubtful and find that you’re talking yourself out of these new experiences, stop, take a deep breath, and take the leap!
You’ll never know if you don’t give it a shot. These experiences, whether it’s a competition, leadership role, or an organised activity, will help you broaden your horizon in ways you can only imagine. These experiences are, sometimes, beneficial for your future. Leadership experiences and participation in events and competitions would boost your resume or CV for future interviews and applications.
Being a university student is more than just studying your programmes.
It’s also about having that student-life balance which will shape your social life and skills. Learning how to manage your on and off campus lives really prepares you for the future — so that you hopefully don’t suffer from a lack of work-life balance. It gives you an opportunity to learn how to handle busy schedules thereby, making sure you succeed as an adult (at least to a certain extent).
Now that you’ve joined a club, found your community, and made new friends, it’s easier for you to navigate through your preferences and explore new areas of interests that you might be drawn to.
This could be a new found love for something or even a hidden desire that might’ve been suppressed due to long study hours. Either way, you find yourself indulged in something new; something that shapes you into a better, more confident version of yourself.
The benefits of joining clubs and societies, especially as a new international student, are endless. You’ll end up graduating with wholesome experiences and a bunch of new friends from all over the world — something that’s super cool and flex-worthy!
So go ahead, and join one of the many clubs and societies at Taylor’s. Here’s hoping to see you in one of them real soon!
Iffat Ara Islam is currently pursuing Bachelor of Business (Hons) in International Business & Marketing at Taylor's University. She is also a committee member in the Community Engagement department of Taylor’s International Student Society.
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