When I was in high school, I didn’t know much about school organizations (and to be honest, I didn’t really care to know either). The only thing I was focused on was getting through the day so I could hurry up to go home and nap already! I couldn’t understand why people would want to willingly stay after school or give themselves extra work to do… Yuck!
And then my last year of high school, my best friend and I decided for whatever reason (I honestly think it was so we would have the same homeroom together!), to join our Senior Board. And we had SO. MUCH. FUN!
I couldn’t believe that I had wasted the 3 years before that missing out on fun that I could’ve been having! Well, lesson learned. So I made a promise to myself to never let that happen again.
When I got accepted into nursing school, I promised myself that I would find clubs and organizations to join, in hopes of making the most out of my experience. And I have NOT been let down.
So let me tell you about all the reasons why I think you should join an organization too!
Reason #1 – School organizations are the perfect place to make new friends and grow your network!
Making friends can be hard enough as it is. Then throw in the fact that most of us have been working and going to school online for the past two years due to a global pandemic… Do we even know how to socialize anymore? Lol, I’m kidding, but sometimes it sure feels that way!
During my first two semesters, my classes were all online Zoom meetings with our microphones silenced and cameras turned off. We answered questions in a chat box. We used online discussion boards instead of being able to raise our hand to ask a question.
So naturally, when school was back to being in person, I barely knew anyone. I honestly couldn’t even find my way around the school due to never spending time on campus. However, being a part of school organizations has made it way easier and faster for me to meet new friends and grow my support group!
Most clubs have monthly meetings and plan activities outside of school, so you open yourself up to a group of friends who can be there for you when the times get tough! You’ll also get the chance to meet students who are in different stages of the program than you are, so the ones farther along can give you advice, and you can in turn help out the newer students who are not yet where you are!
Reason #2 – Have some fun!
Nursing school doesn’t have to be all study, no play. Don’t make yourself wait until you graduate to start having some fun! You need to remember to enjoy your experience as much as possible! (This is also an important part of self-care and preventing burn out).
The great thing about school organizations is that, most of the time, unless you hold a board position, there’s not a set amount of time that you have to dedicate. You can choose the events that fit with your schedule, and if you can’t make it because you need to study, no biggie.
Reason #3 – Give back to your community, your school, and your peers.
Many clubs and organizations offer to do volunteer work in the community. These can range from running food drives, collecting toy donations for kids, and fundraising events, such as the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure.
Your school might also volunteer for community health events, such as blood drives, vaccination events, and working first aid/medical tents at public events. This is a great way to improve your skills while also helping your local community!
Other clubs you can join might do things like plan student events, design the yearbooks, and make posters to decorate the school. My school has an organization of upper-level students who volunteer their time to tutor the newer students for free. Giving back to your peers is equally important!
Reason #4 – School organizations allow you to develop your professional skills.
There are a ton of skills that you develop when you become a part of an organization. Think about it! Volunteered at a health clinic or blood drive? Worked at a medical tent or helped patients? Then you’re practicing:
- Patient care
- Patient teaching and education
- How to interact with other members of the healthcare team
- Therapeutic communication
- Advocacy for public and community health
- Working together for the greater good, giving back
- Implementing your knowledge and skills learned in school
Do you hold a position on a board or committee? Then you’ll be working on skills like:
- Teamwork and collaboration
- Leadership and responsibility
- Professional communication (emails, phone calls, announcements, board postings, etc.)
- Public speaking
- Planning and running an effective meeting
- Writing an agenda
- Raising funds and deciding how they’ll be used
Reason #5 – Open up new doors, new opportunities, and new experiences.
There’s honestly no telling what new possibilities will come your way when you decide to join a club! But you can only find out if you’re willing to open yourself up to new adventures and experiences.
Some of the doors that have opened for me include being invited to coauthor an article to be published in a newsletter, attending a convention with professional development workshops (for free), and improving my leadership skills. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting tons of great new friends and the opportunity to help other students get the resources they need to succeed.
Reason #6 – It looks great on a future college or job application!
Why? Because of all of those skills, you’ll develop that I mentioned in #4! And besides that, it shows that you want to give back to your community and make a difference in people’s lives. It shows a passion for what you do, compassion for others, and dedication to your profession.
And the thing is if you try something new and decide it’s not for you, that’s okay. If you get too busy with school and can’t volunteer because you need to study, that’s okay too.
But I do believe if you take the chance and say YES to joining a club or organization, you’ll be happy you did!
So what are you waiting for?! You’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain!