Join clubs to learn outside of the classroom

Academic pressure frequently forces Lawrentians to choose between academic endeavors and activities outside of the classroom. Lawrence University offers students innumerable opportunities for growth, both in the classroom and out. While academics are of paramount importance, letting them get in the way of growth through other activities is unnecessary.

While Lawrence is not known for its athletic prowess, numerous varsity, club and intramural sports teams are open to Lawrence students. Through athletics students learn teamwork and cooperation. Competition also fosters self-motivation and dedication. On top of it all, athletics help keep people healthy. For those athletically inclined, Lawrence offers something for everyone.

Lawrence’s numerous clubs also serve to enrich the lives of students. Lawrence plays host to student organizations focused on all manner of activities, from community service to tea appreciation. Through these clubs, many new skills can be acquired. For example, Lawrence Swing Dance offers swing lessons, and the Lawrence University Curling Club is centered around a learn-to-curl program. Clubs are a great way to learn new things, bettering oneself in the process.

While it can never be said that there is a club for everyone, this does not preclude anyone from participating. To form a club, one simply fills out a form available in the Campus Life office. The requirements for club formation are outlined in the Lawrence Student Handbook. To be recognized by the Lawrence University Community Council, a club must have five or more members, at least two of whom are designated club representatives, and have a stated purpose or mission statement.

When forming a club, students practice independent organization and leadership skills. Additionally, they make the campus a better place. People should not hesitate to form new campus organizations.

On top of athletics and clubs, Lawrence offers opportunities that defy categorization. Student government, for example, involves many students in the inner workings of the university. Greek organizations, while not strictly speaking clubs, offer friendship and fellowship to many. Even this newspaper is student-run, written and read.

Lawrence offers numerous opportunities for self-enrichment outside of the classroom. These opportunities will not necessarily be easily accessed after graduation. Lawrentians should take advantage of these opportunities while they are available.

Academics often prevent students from taking advantage of the opportunities Lawrence offers. This is a travesty. College is so much more than academics. College is a period of intense self-development. This cannot be completed in a classroom alone. Classes fall short in promoting growth in leadership, self-motivation and exposure to new activities. Supplementing what one learns in a formal setting with extracurricular learning is the only way to become truly well-rounded.

Lawrentians are students first. In no way would I suggest otherwise. However, a balance must be struck between academics and student clubs. Extracurricular activities should not entirely eliminate academics, just as academics cannot be allowed to prevent learning that occurs outside of the classroom.

With this in mind, I make two suggestions. First, in your stay at Lawrence, please do not be afraid to challenge yourself. Take on more than you think you can. Do not hesitate. Throw yourself into that club. Join that organization. Try a sport. Sure, it might lead to a busy term, but you will rise to the occasion. What is a little lost sleep in the face of massive self-enrichment?

Second, do not be afraid to take a lighter course load. There is no shame in taking an introductory-level course, rather than that 400-level course that will work your fingers to the bone. Of course, this must be done in moderation, but at times it is beneficial to take a term to work outside the classroom. Take a lighter workload to make taking on an extra activity possible.

Take risks! Push yourself! Jump at opportunities! Do not be afraid to at times step back from academics to allow personal growth through other activities. For most, college only happens once. You have one shot to get the most you can out of Lawrence. So challenge yourself. Live, learn and grow, both inside and outside the classroom.