Peer blog: University—all studying and no fun?

By: Cherry Chun, 3rd Year Life Sciences

 It’s that time of the year again—exam season, the last hurdle for students before the repose of summer days comes at last. Exam season often seems filled with sleepless nights and a whole lot of stress induced by intensive studying. However, this blog is here to remind you of the other aspect of university that’s discarded during this time—extracurriculars.

During this time of the year, when the winter term is coming to an end, many clubs at Queen’s seek new members. This recruitment may be a surprise—or the last thing on your mind—for a lot of people, as it was for me in my first year. Recruitment for clubs occurs not only at the start of September, but mostly at the end of the year. Although this period of time may be quite stressful, I also highly recommend keeping on eye out for potential clubs you may be interested in joining for the next academic year. The information that you gain from your lectures is valuable, but the experience you gain from the clubs you join is equally important. Whether it is related to your field of major or not, joining a club as a hobby can also impart invaluable knowledge that you never thought you needed!

As a Life Sciences student, I’ve been learning a bit about the pathology of various neurodegenerative disease, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). From lectures, I was able to recognize various symptoms and cellular mechanisms involved with the neurodegenerative disease. But when I joined the Queen’s ALS Club, the way I viewed the disease completely changed. I began to view ALS from the patients’ perspectives—their hardships and struggles against ALS widened my narrow viewpoint, which was filled only with hard facts.

If I could give one tip to an incoming student at Queen’s or to my own first-year self, I would say this: don’t be afraid to join any clubs you have an interest in! Just as academics are important, the experiential learning you can acquire from joining a club is also crucial. Join the TEDxQueensU, or the Queen’s Squirrel Watching Club. There’s a club for practically any hobby you may have—and if there isn’t, don’t be afraid to start your own, as there are bound to be like-minded people in the sea of 25,000 students here.

In the end, I agree that exam season is stressful and makes it hard to focus on anything else. All I ask is that you keep all this information in the back of your mind and remember that university is more than just the academics and tests!