We are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a CCA in uni. Gone are the days when we were limited to only a cluster of CCAs and seeing the same faces every week. Uni is a whole different ball game and a time where many people find themselves discovering what they like. Others question what CCAs they should join to boost their resume.
In this article, we’ll explore the things to take into consideration when making your choice.
Pros of Joining a CCA You Like:
1. You’ll enjoy uni more.
Uni is the time where many people allow themselves to explore their interests through CCAs. You’ll be happier and more positive during your time in uni and will look forward to attending CCA sessions more if it’s an activity you enjoy doing, even if you face obstacles. For example, I know of people in sports CCAs who don’t get along well with their teammates. Their love of the sport motivates them to participate regardless.
I also have a friend who has joined five CCAs in NUS, including tennis, netball, and volunteering. Although they may have no relation to her degree, she’s enjoying uni a lot partially due to her CCA activities, and hence she’d rather choose CCAs she likes over CCAs that may benefit her resume.
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2. You’ll meet like-minded people.
If you’re really big on student life or are looking to meet more people to enjoy your hobbies with, a good way to do that would be to join a CCA revolving around your interests. It can be hard and time-consuming to meet people who share your interests outside of school, especially if they are more niche. For example, maybe you’re into mixing music and DJ-ing, but your social circle enjoys movies and reading. You can meet other like-minded people if you join a DJ-ing CCA and enjoy doing it together.
3. You might end up turning your interest into your profession.
Maybe you have a hobby you enjoy, but lack the experience needed to turn it into a career. For example, if you enjoy writing, joining a Writer’s Club or a Journalism Club could help you with the portfolio you need if you ever choose to pursue it professionally. The network of friends you’ll meet in the CCA could also potentially help you one day.
Cons of Joining a CCA You Like:
1. You might end up neglecting your studies.
It can be hard to balance your time in uni, especially when you’re taking on more commitments than in the past. CCA activities and the social commitments that come with them can be draining, and you’ll need to slowly adjust to student life in uni. Your grades might suffer if you end up being too tired to study, or if you give into procrastination or even peer pressure to hang out. And if you end up disliking your course, it’s likely that you’ll distract yourself by doing things you like—which may include going for CCA sessions.
If you’re sure you can handle the commitments and manage them well, don’t let this stand in your way of pursuing a CCA you like! You can also join CCAs that require less commitment.
2. Your portfolio might not be relevant to your degree.
By joining a CCA you like, you’re forgoing the opportunity cost of joining one that can benefit your portfolio. Consider if getting experience in the industry you’d like to join in the future, and building a relevant network outside of class is important to you. If it is, you might want to join a CCA that can help with that.
Pros of Joining a CCA You Need:
1. You get to beef up your portfolio and resume.
An employer that sees that you joined a relevant CCA may see this as proof of your passion. It would be even better if you had a leadership position. Inevitably, your portfolio would also have something to show for it. You might also be able to obtain an internship through the CCA when you network with your peers and teachers.
2. You can build a network of people outside of class.
Making friends with people in your course is not as easy as in the past, now that you don’t have any consistent classmates due to the structure of bidding for classes. By joining a CCA that’s relevant to your degree, you are likely to meet people in your course who likely will go into the field, or even others studying different degrees who are considering it.
You can also do collaborations with them; what kind depends on the CCA. If it’s a CCA revolving around art, you could make a combined art piece with someone else and the two of you could add that to your portfolio.
For an anecdote, I will probably talk about my friend in NUS who has joined various sports CCAs even though she is from FASS. I’ll ask her for more details, but eventually I’ll like to share how she copes and her reason for joining CCAs outside of the scope of her degree
Cons of Joining a CCA You Need:
1. You may feel pressured to perform well and burn out.
Many people use CCAs as a distraction from studying when they get overwhelmed. Joining a CCA that’s relevant to your degree makes it such that you never really stop thinking about your degree. If your degree is something you are very passionate about, that’s good. But you may feel the pressure to perform well, especially if you’re joining to be more “employable”— which means you likely are gunning for a leadership position.
For example, my classmates taking Computer Science have joined the UI/UX club which deals with designing user interfaces for programs. I can see that they’re quite stressed out and unhappy with their CCA because they find it boring and the projects too intensive. They also feel the pressure as a senior to set a better example for the juniors and help them out.
2. You will be missing out the chance to pursue the things you like.
If your degree isn’t the thing you’re most passionate about, you may be passing up the chance to pursue something you enjoy in uni. Uni is the last stretch before you come out into the working world; hence many people decide to join something they love so that they can make great memories with those that share the same passion.
At the end of the day, only you know what you value and what you don’t. Only you know your limits and what you want to achieve. It’s also possible to join a CCA you like that’s also relevant to your degree, and it’s also possible to join a few CCAs from both. Have fun, and enjoy your uni life!