Hi there, unsuspecting-first-year-student-trying-to-find-your-Communications-tutorial-that-for-some-reason-is-in-the-Engineering-building. Come join our club! If you sign up now, we’ll give you a t-shirt and some plastic shit.
If you’re on campus during O-Week, chances are you’ll be approached by a group of students in matching t-shirts, trying to convince you why you should join their cult—I mean club. The University of Auckland has over 200 clubs, societies, and associations, and they claim “there’s a club for everyone.”
Making friends at uni can be hard, and joining a club is a common suggestion to expand your social circle. But being involved in some clubs is a significant commitment that not everyone can afford to take on, with some voluntary roles expecting as much as eight hours a week from students.
Craccum asked students and recent graduates what clubs, if any, they have been involved in on campus and what their experience was, so that you don’t have to pay the $10 joining fee only to go to one event.
“Joining exec teams at uni has been a highlight of my university experience because it was a way for me to make genuine friendships. Just be careful of shitty people who take advantage of you! It can give bad group project vibes sometimes, but it is good most of the time! It’s honestly 50/50! I’ve had the good and the bad. It comes down to who leads the club. If they’re onto it and have everything organised, it will be a fun environment.”
“I joined Women in Engineering at UoA because there are so many barriers to overcome and hoops to jump through that are a lot easier with a community of support. I wanted to encourage more women to pursue engineering because it’s such a cool degree, and I didn’t want something as silly (and systemic haha) as sexism to be the barrier to entry. I can’t stress enough that joining clubs makes the uni experience so much better. Academics are important but don’t keep yourself from being a part of clubs because you’re afraid it’ll affect your grades.”
“I looked at the list of clubs but I didn’t find something I wanted to do. I’m very introverted, so I was kind of intimidated. First-year is already overwhelming, but in Semester Two, I think I’ll be more used to this kind of environment. I’ve made a few friends in my classes, but it’s quite hard to connect with people unless you have the same tutorial.”
“I was on the leadership team for a few clubs. It was honestly a pretty toxic environment at times, and I was expected to volunteer eight hours a week for one club. People can be really rude and demanding, even though you’re volunteering your time. So, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and leave if things go to shit.”
“I’ve been part of quite a few clubs over the years. I did more fun/social ones like sports clubs, dessert clubs, and the Debating Society in my first year. Overall everyone was always super welcoming, and my experience was great, which led me to join heaps more in my next few years.”
Lucy, Health Science
“I don’t have the time. I’m balancing two jobs. I’m a swim instructor, and I work at a food truck. I’d love to join a club when I don’t have as much work as I do now to make friends and try something new. But I did make friends with lab partners and by going to the open day at the beginning of the year.”
Emma, Commerce and Computer Science
“If you want to get a bigger social circle and have fun at social events, clubs are great. I’m on the Auckland University Dance Association (AUDA) marketing executive team. I saw them advertise the role on Instagram, and I jumped at the opportunity to gain more experience because I want to go into marketing, and leadership roles look good on your CV. The club president is really organised and delegates tasks reasonably, so I’ve had a good experience.”
Gemma, Health Science
“I joined the tramping club to make friends, get outdoors, and take a break from studying. It’s quite niche, and a lot of people are really into the hardcore bush tramping. But I’d say it’s beginner-friendly.”