Becoming amember of asociety or aclub in college is not only alot of fun, but also offers opportunities to learn, collaborate, work in teams, and most importantly, make friends, finds Vinita Bajari

It is just a matter of time tha

t the class 10 SSC results will be announced, and soon students will graduate from school to college. All the new entrants will swarm college campuses to soak in the experience and be a part of the gamut of having fun, alt145 bunkingalt39lectures and alt145 feeling the freedomalt39. Once these new students settle down with the classes and time tables and start adjusting to college life, all sorts of campus clubs will be courting them for membership. There is, however, a difference between these clubs, and those of ten years ago. Earlier, these were organisations where only those with a confirmed passion for the subject could join for academic purposes. Now, these have evolved into huge learning and event management exercises, offering students an all- round experience.

Many students and parents are still of the old school of thought and view these clubs as a waste of time and effort, since they are not going to help you earn a living in the future. Most academicians differ in their opinion. They say that a student should be a member of at least one society in college. ‘The associations and clubd in colleges are run in a professional manner and are guided by the teachers. They have benign impact on students as they enable them to go beyond the confines of the syllabus to render service to society and also to get their life skills enhanced,’says teacher Geeta Desai, of N M College, who is a part of the Cultural Committe in the college. ‘The objective is to scout for talent in various fields. This talent is then nurtured and honed to perfection through workshops and training followed by which they are sent for intra and inter- collegiate festivals,’she adds.

Apart from scouting for talent, these clubs brings together a bunch of unknown people who sometimes end up making friendships for life. Terna Shroff, who is a part of the Debate and Elocution Association at Mithibai College, says, ‘When we start in junior college, we know no one. Through the activities of the clubs, we build friendships and work hard to keep these friends.

Besides, being in a club is an excellent way to network,’and these could be eminently achieved through the clubs and associations.

Shushma Dhumma, mother of two sons, is a mother from the old school, who believes that the only job a student has is to study. ‘I donalt39t say that they donalt39t need to relax, but being part of such clubs takes up too much time and physical effort. Sometimes even when there is the time to study, students are so exhausted that they cannot,’she justifies herself. In a total contrast, her older son Aditya, who is in his second year of engineering says, ‘I think that we are too bogged down with studies. We need to devote adequate time for play, personal reflection and improving communication skills. The clubs and associations provide the platform to imrpove oneself.’Though the main purpose of some clubs is just to have fun, others extend the learning experience. V PShanbhag, vice principal of MMK Junior College, points out that through participation in these clubs, students not only gain knowledge but also selfesteem.

‘In our college, we encourage students to participate since it is an integral part of the college learning experience.

Active participation provides the opportunity for students to make a difference, develop new skills and to meet people.’It may seem strange to many, but experts believe that students who participate in extracurricular activities are more engaged in the college experience, and benefits can be seen both in and outside the classroom. Counselling psychologist Shital Ravi says these students study more, have higher marks and are more satisfied with their social lives.

Often in our country, students come from a background where there are no oth

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