Did you know that graduate students are eligible to join many of the clubs, groups, and teams at UConn that are not necessarily geared toward graduate students? They are! Not many graduate students realize that all intramural sports and tournaments are open to interested graduate students at the Storrs campus, as well as many of the other clubs, groups, and teams. Just like in undergrad education, clubs are a great way to relive stress from schoolwork, meet new people at UConn, try something that you have never done before, or continue a favorite activity.
You’re probably thinking, wait, “I’m a graduate student and I have way less free time than I did in undergrad! I can’t fit any club meetings into my schedule! And I’m already part of my program’s graduate student organization.”
While your graduate studies are already an incredible load, I bet you have some time set aside for exercise, reading for fun, crafts, or other hobbies. If you would like to move some of your allocated exercise or activity times to doing them in a group, you might consider joining a club or a team at UConn. You can keep doing the activity that you love, but also get involved and meet new people on the way! The commitments for each club and team also vary, so it might not be as much of a commitment as you think. There are also way more activities open to graduate students besides department specific organizations.
Clubs are also a great way to hone skills that are helpful in future careers, like teamwork, communication, and leadership. These transferable skills will help you in your future career and give you a solid example to mention, during interviews, when asked, “What do you do in your free time?” As a Ph.D. student who is also on a club sport team, I have mentioned my team membership to future employers in interviews and many have commented on it. I feel that my participation and involvement have helped me stand out in the applicant pool.
Curious about how to join a club? Consider these steps:
- Investigate: Look on the website to see what groups you would like to join https://uconntact.uconn.edu/organizations
- Contact: If the club’s website does not explicitly say that graduate students can join, ask! Some teams have never had graduate students join, so it isn’t always listed on the site.
- Research: Want to compete? Some club sports have intercollegiate leagues, which have different rules about team eligibility. In many cases, you can still join as a graduate student and compete on the college team as long as you are a full time student and meet some of the other requirements. Check out the team’s website to see what association they are part of, and then check out the requirements online and see if you qualify.
- Consider: Especially if you are a TA, keep in mind that you might see your students at club meetings and events. Decide how you would react to seeing your students outside of class before you enter a situation that might make you uncomfortable.
- Create: Don’t see a club that matches your interest? You can start your own! To learn more about the process, go to http://solid.uconn.edu/neworg/