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To join or not to join

On February 24, 2011

The following article is the first in a series in which staff writer A. Sharp will examine different groups on campus and explore how they interact with one another and the students who join them.

Throughout my college career it has always seemed as if there was something that I needed to do; lately that has turned into more of an urge or an itch, as if there is something missing from this experience.

Although I devote every waking second to homework and my future career as a journalist, which has bombarded my life and is leaving me with little to no time for myself, there is still something that shouts out to me "get involved."

But when trying to decide which organization to join, many questions arise.

Which one would interest me? And how can I get involved? Who should I talk to? I have so many questions and I can't help but feel overwhelmed in finding where to start.

When I walk through the Student Union I can see the massive banners and posters of an organization's upcoming events, not to mention the bulletin boards and calendars plastering the walls. It just seems like there are so many to choose from -- over 180, according to UT's website.

One great attribute about the student organizations here on our campus is the wide variety available. These organizations cater to diverse groups of individuals.

With so many different clubs, each offering something special, it's difficult to pick which one deserves my time, dedication, and energy.

Joining a student organization seems to be one of the first steps I can take in order to network with my peers who may have the same major or share the same long-term goals as I do.

I realize this could be my chance to test my capabilities and to see if I can assess the qualities it will take to be successful in the professional world. Joining an organization could help me prove to myself that I have the skills to balance more than one thing at a time.

Despite all these positive attributes, it seems like there may be some drawbacks to joining an organization on campus.

I've noticed among the vast majority of student organizations, there is a sense of disharmony. It seems like some of these groups do not work together to create unity, which can be very uninviting for those seeking to join.

Could that be the reason so many students like myself are leery or uncomfortable about joining organizations?

Next Monday, the office of Student Involvement is holding its second annual Student Organizations Gala Event "A Growing Tradition." This may be my only chance to see what opportunities await me and how I could be an asset to an organization. This event alone may help inspire more collaboration among organizations on campus to foster better success.

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