Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Opinion | No one is ‘too cool for school.’ Join a club

CW / Abby Cope

College is ideally a four-year experience where we go from young ’un to young professional in what feels like far too little time.

Our first few weeks on campus quickly turn into an overwhelming blur. Everyone’s timeline to settle in to a routine is different, and at some points we almost miss the feeling of the newness of our orientation days.

Our time as collegians is precious. You step into the roles of freshman, sophomore, junior and senior, all before you take your final steps across the stage into the role of alum and become what undergrads like to refer to as an “actual adult.”

We spend so much time trying to make every possible memory and get the “full college experience” that we end up wasting so many opportunities right in front of us. But we shouldn’t have to choose between social status or sufficient involvement. Instead, we have to maintain a delicate balance between the two.

At The University of Alabama, there are over 500 student clubs and organizations available at our fingertips. Get on Board Day comes and goes every year, but the hustle and bustle of an overcrowded Quad and the overflowing free goodies can make us lose sight of the real purpose of the event.

The idea of being “too cool for school” may have made some of us feel like being less involved is the key to being well liked. This is anything but true.

By joining a club or group that you are interested in, you not only pad a resume; you also prioritize your passions and put yourself out there. And on applications, being a member or on the executive board of several student organizations shows that you’re able to keep up with both educational commitments and extracurricular activities, which can go much further than you might think.

The mySource website has a database with every student club and organization registered with The University of Alabama. Just by doing a couple quick searches, I’ve already found some unique ways you probably didn’t know you could get involved.

Crimson Smash Club is the University’s center for everything Super Smash Bros. Established on campus in 2014, armed with vintage monitors and tournament brackets, the club hosts weekly meetings full of Melee and Ultimate gameplay for everyone from first-timers to seasoned pros.

After a quick rundown from president Jared Burns, I learned that UA’s Crimson Smash Club has four members with power ranking status, meaning they’re among the top 10 players in the state. Junior Alex Mai in particular tops that list at No. 1: an entirely new meaning to the phrase “Title Town.”

As I sat in on the meeting, I watched each member walk through the door and set down the weight of not only a desktop setup, but any doubts they may have had as well.

“Being involved in Crimson Smash Club has helped me branch out,” Burns said of his time as a member. “I’ve met a lot of my best friends through it. Everyone is always very friendly, and it’s just really nice to have found that community.”

But if video games are a little too fast-paced, perhaps Yarn Nation is more your speed. In an interview with President Isabella Garcia, I got the stitch on what her club is all about.

“My favorite part about Yarn Nation is the people,” Garcia said. “Even though we may not know each other super well at first, it’s just so comfortable in the meetings. Everyone’s happy to knit and talk to one another, it feels easy.”

Garcia said that, if there was anything she wished all students knew about her club, it would be that “Yarn Nation is for everyone.”

“Last semester we did Crochet for Cancer, where we crocheted and embroidered hats and blankets for cancer patients,” Garcia said. “Whether you’re looking for a way to volunteer, a new craft, or just to de-stress — it’s great.” An incredible way to find your community and give back to it along the way.

UA has countless other amazing organizations and ways for students to get into a groove. Plan My Gap Year, a global outreach opportunity for pre-health students, are getting their visas approved for their upcoming trip to Ghana.

Campus Cupboard is a club fighting food insecurity in the Tuscaloosa community, and doesn’t let the term “grassroots” get in its way. And the Ducks Unlimited Chapter at the University is proud to boast about its Gold Chapter status, raising $75,000 for waterfowl and wetlands conservation this year alone. Students all over campus are doing amazing things, both in and outside of the classroom.

If you want to get the “full college experience,” you need to get involved. While you may have to find the right fit for you, clubs on campus are a foot in the door and a way to meet new friends.

An interest form or a simple email could impact your entire college career.

Run UA, UA’s intramural running club, completely changed my own course. Being able to find people who challenge and encourage me to better myself, not only as a member but as a person, has been the biggest blessing in my three years thus far.

And with such a wide variety of organizations to choose from, there is a club for everyone to join and carve their path with at the Capstone.

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