My friend Sam Martin, from Tucson, Ariz., came to visit Goshen College during my sophomore year. He thought it was absolutely hilarious when students would see a train coming and sprint across campus in order to make it across the tracks on time. Since I’m used to seeing this phenomenon on a daily basis, I was greatly amusing to watch him laugh and laugh at people taking off running across campus to beat a train. When I thought more about this scenario, it occurred to me that it’s one of those situations you could describe as “all or nothing.” Students either had to give it their all, and spring with all their heart down the sidewalk, or accept that they’d have to wait a few more minutes to get to their dorm or classroom. There’s no in-between; you can’t half heartedly jog to beat a train because you almost definitely will not make it in time.
The “all or nothing” aspect of beating a train that Sam and I talked about applies to joining and getting involved with student clubs at Goshen College as well. Yesterday was club day, when about 15 or so clubs had booths and representatives set up in the Union in order to give out information, talk to students and get more people involved with the given club. It’s easy to sign up for every club you seem remotely interested in. But in my experience, this can be overwhelming and result in lack of attendance to any of the clubs you originally signed up for. Picking one or two clubs to devote time and energy to is a more rewarding and productive investment of time and energy, at least in my experience on campus thus far.
During my freshman year, I signed up for EcoPax, International Student Club, Pax Club and Goshen Student Women’s Association. I ended up going to one Pax Club meeting and one GSWA meeting over the course of that whole year. I couldn’t handle my commitment to four different clubs. But junior year, I decided to devote time and energy to EcoPax and out of the blue: Salsa Club. I went to Salsa Club every Sunday to learn, and I completely fell in love with the dance (such that I’ll probably write a “For the Record” on how much joy salsa dancing gives me), and it sparked new friendships with people I’m still close to today.
Devoting time and energy to one or two clubs instead of a multitude doesn’t mean you shouldn’t support other clubs as best you can. Go to as many club events as you feel led! But getting intentionally involved with one or two is more rewarding in my opinion than being on the outskirts of many. So pick a club, even if you don’t know anyone yet. Sign up to help set up or tear down for an event. Share ideas. Attend weekly meetings. Getting involved through student clubs is incredibly rewarding. Jumping in head-first, or even at top-sprint, means you won’t end up on the wrong side of the tracks.