It is officially spring and that means we are one step closer to summer vacation. With only a few weeks left of the semester, you might start thinking about your next year at Queen’s. Extracurriculars can be a great way to find community, study buddies, and social contacts—all of which will probably boost your academic performance! Even if you weren’t too involved in clubs and societies this year, it’s not too late. It might surprise you, but now’s not too early, either! I’ve been in plenty of clubs and societies already, so here’s my experience.

At Queen’s, there are an amazing array of clubs that you can join, ranging from soccer intramurals to chess clubs to musical bands! The Queen’s AMS website has a comprehensive list of the clubs on offer. If you are unsure about what you want to do next year in terms of extracurriculars, this website is a really helpful starting point. If you want more information about certain clubs, most have social media pages: have a look for events they’re running or have run, and don’t be afraid to chat with the club executive through DMs or email to ask them how you can get involved or even if you can help organize activities this summer or next year.

During first year, many of my friends and I believed that clubs were mostly for older students who know the university much better. But I soon came to realize that was far from the truth. Many clubs are actively looking for first and second-year students to join. For example, I am currently the president of Queen’s One for the World, a club that educates people on the power of charitable donations. I always enjoy having first and second students join the team because they bring such a great presence to our team and to the events we hold throughout the year. I also chatted about this topic with John Le, the president of Queen’s University Minecraft Club. John explains that their club, like many others, is “always recruiting first year [students]” and that their involvement in the club is appreciated.

If you want to help run a club, many clubs hire executives—leaders—in spring, and many have specific positions available to first and second-year students only (in fact, two of the Minecraft’s Clubs leaders this year are actually first years). If you’re looking for a leadership opportunity, start looking now. The best places to find these opportunities are Facebook group chats and social media pages for specific clubs. The application process usually consists of an application form that contains a few questions which help the club executives see if you might be a good fit for the team. Most clubs have interviews for executive positions.

Remember, though, that most clubs have unlimited spots for general members—if you try for an exec position but don’t make it (yet!), don’t be disappointed if you don’t get selected initially, as you’ll still be able to participate in all the activities offered by the club. I was a general member during my first year at Queens’s Chapter of MSF, which helped me earn a position on the executive team the following year. Keep a look-out on social media to see if a club you are interested in is hiring positions for next year.

Throughout this blog, I’ve drawn your attention to how important it is to make connections and find communities that welcome you. School isn’t just about studying and grades; you need a great support network to study with, urge you on, and help you when you hit a bump in the academic road. I urge you all to be proactive and take advantage of all the amazing clubs and teams Queen’s university has to offer. No matter what year you might be in, don’t hesitate to be a part of the Queen’s community. Clubs are more than just organizing events or conferences. They’re also about the new friendships you create and the knowledge you gain from the experience.

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