No clubs barred: Join every organization to live your best life

A+group+made+up+of+UNCW%27s+American+students%2C+international+students%2C+and+even+graduates+from+other+schools+attending+a+Japan+Club+meeting+in+February+2019.

Sophie Fowler

A group made up of UNCW's American students, international students, and even graduates from other schools attending a Japan Club meeting in February 2019.

Darius Melton, Opinion Editor

You know what one of the best parts of university life is? The extraordinary number of clubs available to us.

This is not a thinly veiled excuse for me to tell you to join The Seahawk, I promise. In fact, before joining The Seahawk and falling in love with it, I was pretty iffy about journalism myself. However, the then-editor-in-chief was nice to me at the involvement carnival and I needed to do something to pad out my creative writing resume, so writing a few news articles here and there seemed useful.

It turned out there are a lot of differences between creative writing and journalism writing, but I figured it out and now it is almost second nature. This is why I recommend that everyone gives UNC Wilmington’s club scene a shot: the new experiences.

After clearing all of the required university studies courses, most students end up taking classes entirely related to their major, minor, second major, etc. It becomes a lot of the same thing, and while there can be variety in the classes students take (e.g. poetry vs fiction for creative writing or screenwriting vs computer animation for film studies), it would all fall into the same circle on a Venn diagram.

This is where clubs come in. Ricki Nelson, founder of UNCW’s Creative Arts Club and the 2019 Homecoming Queen, gives insight into the reasons people join so many clubs, using her own club as an example.

“[Creative Arts Club] allows for people in majors that aren’t as traditionally artistic and creative to continue to pursue those mediums outside of their academics. That’s something really awesome. We’ll have a lot of biology, or someone who’s doing computer science, or someone who’s a business major; but they still really love painting, or really love to draw, or they want to recite some poetry that they write in their spare time. CAC allows them to come and still pursue those things that they’ve always loved,” Nelson says.

Other students may join clubs to fill their schedule without filling a creative itch. Nursing major Charlie Cruz explains that he already planned on joining clubs before he enrolled at UNCW, and he ended up being an active member in 12 clubs in just the 2019-2020 school year alone, holding an officer position in two of them.

“I wanted to do clubs because I live my life like I have a short time to live. I have a paranoia that I may come to a point in life where I will be stuck in a rut, so I want to do what I can when I can,” Cruz says. “It leaves me stressed and tired perpetually, but I would be stressed by the ‘doing nothing’ anyways.”

When Veronica Wernicke interviewed me for a Campus Cutie article on Her Campus, I faced an interesting predicament when asked what clubs and organizations I have been involved with at UNC Wilmington.

Though not as many as Charlie, I still ended up naming eight clubs: The Seahawk, Christian Campus Fellowship, Japan Club, Screenwriter’s Club, Anime Club, Technology and Gaming Club, Table Top and Improv Club. Left off this list were other clubs I had attended only once or twice in my time attending UNCW, like Swing Dancing, Photography Club or the aforementioned Creative Arts Club.

The downside to attending so many clubs is that, at some point, you might reach your breaking point. Senior year was the stage for no less than seventeen “breaking points” for me, and a full schedule did not help. However, though a small portion of my problems boiled down to time management, I know for a fact that The Seahawk, CCF and Screenwriter’s Club kept my head on straight when I was feeling at my lowest.

I won a writing contest, I got journalism awards (surprisingly plural), I went to out-of-state conferences, I led a Bible study group—which might not mean a lot to you, but it is really cathartic for me.

None of those things were because of classes I was enrolled in. The clubs UNCW provides are so incredible because of the opportunities they offer you, both outside and inside your major.

“People have been able to take their traditional mediums as well and push boundaries,” Nelson says. “We’re there to encourage you, to welcome you, and it’s fun. I think a lot of the time, people tend to get so wrapped up in the academics and the social life of school that they forget you still want to feed into your creativity and just have fun for fun’s sake.”

Clubs really are fun for fun’s sake, and I sincerely hope that any UNCW students—current or incoming—really give next year’s involvement carnival a real look. Fingers crossed that the carnival actually happens.