It’s no secret to why we weren’t in school in 2020—this small thing called the COVID-19 pandemic shut down all schools for about a year and a half.
Some of us had to move back home or deal with missing important milestones, like prom or graduation. We hunkered down and isolated ourselves from our friends, peers, mentors, and in a lot of cases, family. For the next two years, we struggled under restrictions that kept us safer, but lonely.
The effect of these realities will be felt for a while. In my case, a significant portion of my time at Queen’s has been characterized by lockdowns, quarantine, and my laptop being my whole campus.
Now in my fourth year, I only just started having the university experience I dreamed about all throughout high school. Second and third years, too, are getting to the halfway point of their university career without having proper Orientation Week experience.
All this heavily impacts the culture and environment Queens—a school that once saw massive student engagement in all kinds of events. Due to the on-and-off nature of our access to campus for the past few years, I’m sure everyone can agree something feels off-kilter.
I finally felt engaged with campus and my peers when I began attending events and joining clubs like The Journal. These opportunities made my struggle to find a place here bearable.
Queen’s is home to an abundance of clubs for all types of people, for all different reasons. As this school struggles with diversity, it’s more reason for different groups of people to band together to find community and make their voices heard.
There’s Yellowhouse for queer and BIPOC students to find a place of belonging. There are organizations within the AMS, like The Journal, that allow for professional development, creativity, and fun in a new community.
Clubs help make Queen’s what it’s meant to be: a community where you feel you belong. In the absence of a conventional first-year experience, clubs help enter us into the community. Through different organizations across Queen’s, you can find like-minded people.
Or better yet, you can expand your horizons. Join a club and pick up a new hobby. Apply for a position within your faculty society and learn more about your program, its history, and your peers within that faculty.
In my experience, finding a place at Queen’s in the face of chaos and uncertainty meant finding a club or organization I loved to participate in and made me expand my horizons.
The Journal was my way of breaking into the community at Queen’s, introducing me to new people who became some of my closest friends. My colleagues are people I’m going to remember for a long time.
The perception of clubs and student organizations isn’t great; it’s seen as corny or uncool to invest so much time into student life. Despite this perception, these clubs are what makes Queen’s great in the first place.
Clubs provide a welcoming consistency and comfort in a turbulent academic life. Trust me—they’re worth it.
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