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College Organizations 101

In college and thinking about joining an organization? Read this before making your final decision.
IMAGE FOX ART Michelle Wu

Once in college, you might get confronted with orientation and invitation offers from various organizations. And, with the fast-paced college life, we understand the pressure. To help you with that major life decision, we have listed down the pros, the cons, and other things you need to know before joining an organization.

Why you should go for it:

Even with the academic load college has, you have to remember that college is more than about good grades. If anything, college is the perfect place for you to meet new people and gain experiences. Organizations can provide you an avenue to do something you are interested in beyond academics, and the best part is you get to do it with likeminded people. And of course, college is also your stepping stone to getting the career you want. You have to make sure that you are crafting your college experience in a way that helps build your career. Your 1.0 GPA won't really be as impressive if you don't have practical experiences that prove you can put theory into practice, and college organizations can be that platform for you.

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What should hold you back:

Of course, that's not to say that joining an organization is the only way to go. If there is no organization in your university that convinces you enough to join, then it's totally okay if you live your college life without one. After all, organizations are a commitment and are definitely time consuming. More than that, some organizations can also be financially demanding. Definitely, joining an organization is not a decision that ends once you get in. It's best not to go into it, or anything for that matter, unless you really are sure you can commit. You wouldn't want to be kept busy by something you really have no interest in doing, would you?

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Things to ask yourselfbefore making a decision:

  1. Why are you joining an organization in the first place?

    Understandably, there is a lot of pressure to network and build a career in college. If you're thinking an organization mainly to gain friends, stop and rethink—maybe you can find other ways to make friends. If you’re joining an organization just because it looks cool on your resume, stop and think again—maybe you can exert your energy into building your personal portfolio instead. Strengthen your purpose in joining first, or you might end up losing passion for it easily (if there was any, to begin with).

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  2. Do you really know the organization you're joining?

    It's easy to be overwhelmed by the organizations you might be interested in. But more than reading the about section on their Facebook page, you have to make sure you really know the organization. Some organizations have scheduled orientations, so maybe you can watch out for that. If not, organizations would be more than happy to accommodate questions and to orient you if you express your interest in them. Understand their purpose—do you feel just as strongly in what they do and what they do it for?

  3. Are you willing to go through their application process?

    There are various ways organizations hold their application process. For some, it can take months, for others you just have to sign a paper and pay a fee. Some organizations have a degree of violence involved in their process, so you have to be keen on what is considered hazing. Hazing, defined as "an initiation process involving harassment" by Merriam Webster, is punishable by law (RA 8049). Know where to draw the line. Remember, violence should not easily be justified, and no one should make you feel as if you have to compromise basic human rights to get accepted.

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  4. Do you think you'll get along with the people?

    A huge part of the organization is the members. The members are the ones who fortify the organization’s values and who work together to pursue the organization's goal. As exciting as the organization may sound like, it won't be as fun unless you work with people you can trust. Your organization might consume a huge chunk of your time, and it's always best to surround yourself with likeminded people. Besides, in college where cliques aren't as constant as high school, your orgmates might end up being your closest of friends.

  5. Are you willing to commit?

    You have to remember that college organizations aren't just there to make your resume look cool. They are an actual, long-term commitment. You might be joining certain organizations because you want to learn from them, but you have to remember that as a possible member, you will also be affecting the organization, so really think about it before you get yourself into a major commitment.

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Once you're in college, the issue of whether or not you're joining an organization might seem urgent. However, it's really not required of you to join one the moment you enter freshman year. Again, college organizations can be a major commitment, and you can take your time before jumping into a decision. For now, enjoy the many other wonderful things that college has to offer.

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Cidee Despi
Candymag.com Correspondent
She is a liberal arts student by weekdays and a fanatic of everything art every day. Her hobbies include getting emotional over really good mixtapes and spoken word poetry.
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