How to survive four years in college without going insane: Student clubs are the answer

By Nicole Rodriguez

FLAGLER COLLEGE- From freshmen to seniors, college students have likely made friends by living on campus, going to certain classes, and going to parties or other events.

Once you find your solid group of friends, even if you don’t have too much in common, you have likely stopped putting a lot of effort into making new friends or finding people who have a lot in common with you.

But what some don’t realize is how Flagler College’s student clubs and organizations are one of the best ways to truly find community, gain close and relatable friends and they even offer networking and opportunities to travel that would otherwise be costly.

According to research found from the Sodexo Student Lifestyle Survey conducted in 2022, 53% of college students feel lonely. This emphasizes the importance of creating student communities where they can support each other, helping to reduce feelings of loneliness.

The Kpop Club at the Flagler College 2023 Fall Semester Involvement Fair on Aug. 24, 2023. Photo by Nicole Rodriguez.

“I’m not a very social person; I’m not one to go out and talk to people, but it’s helped me meet people,” Flagler sophomore Aliyah Molina said.

Molina is one of the co-presidents of the newly established Korean Pop (Kpop) Club that meets once a week at 6:30 p.m. every Wednesday.

Although she is one of the leaders, she mentioned that she has seen positive benefits from the club where she gained friendships, creativity while brainstorming club ideas and community.

The Flagler College Kpop Club at their “Powerpoint Night” meeting on March 6, 2024. Photo by Nicole Rodriguez.

“Our club is very community-based and there is something for everybody to get into. It’s good to find people that have the same interests as you and it was good for us to make a place where people can come in and not be alone,” Flagler sophomore Asher Phillips, the other co-president of the Kpop Club said.

Nikita Nicolaides is a member of Catholic College Fellowship (CCF) which meets twice a week on Thursdays and Sundays. CCF is a more faith-based club rather than hobby-related.

Regardless, she explained that the club has provided a meeting point for students to be able to meet and talk about their faith, while eating dinner together.

“I am Lutheran and not Catholic, and yet I feel incredibly comfortable going there and it’s very familial; we have family dinners where we cook beforehand and at dinner and discussion, it has provided me with a place to be able to actually talk about my beliefs since I don’t always feel like I can in classes or with others,” she said.

Flagler College’s CCF looking at a copy of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Feb. 18, 2024. Photo by Nicole Rodriguez.

Sodexo’s Student Lifestyle Survey found that 87% of college students say that the most typical way they socialize with others is eating together. CCF’s style of meeting involving a home-cooked meal and discussion afterward encourages students to bond and connect with one another.

Flagler College’s CCF on an off-campus retreat with UCF at Camp Geneva in Leesburg, Florida on Feb. 11, 2024. Photo by Nicole Rodriguez.

Meeting both on and off-campus has allowed the students attending CCF to have many opportunities to bond with each other while cooking, sharing a meal, going on a retreat with another school and even going to Washington D.C. together.

Interestingly enough, this club has a large number of non-Catholics who attend and yet the students who attend find a sense of community by establishing relationships with each other.

CCF members worshiping at the retreat campgrounds on Feb. 10, 2024. Photo by Nicole Rodriguez.

Since humans are social animals and need good interactions and relationships with others, the varying Flagler club gatherings and events are perfect for meeting students around the same age with similar interests or career paths.

Unlike both groups mentioned previously, the International Honor Society in Psychology (PSI CHI) is an organization established in multiple colleges around the globe, including Flagler College.

Flagler College’s PSI CHI Chapter Induction Ceremony in the Spring Semester of 2023 on Feb. 7. Photo by Zoe Ann Walters.

The organization PSI CHI meets once a month and accepts students studying psychology with high grades. PSI CHI provides them with better opportunities such as attending conferences and networking which has a tremendous impact on the success of one’s career.

Networking is so important that it is often the main reason why students join sororities, fraternities or go to Ivy League schools.

“When signing up for PSI CHI emails, you can attend calls with speakers. I attended one with the psychologist and professor who conducted the famous and controversial 1971 Stanford prison experiment: Philip Zimbardo,” Vice President of PSI CHI at Flagler Chrissy Beltran said.

Beltran is an upperclassman who is well-recognized by psychology professors for being so passionate and even earns President’s List honors every semester.

PSI CHI’s Vice President Chrissy Beltran speaking at the Induction Ceremony in the Spring Semester of 2023 on Feb. 7. Photo by Zoe Ann Walters.

Beltran explained that at first, she wasn’t sure how PSI CHI could benefit her, but then she was encouraged to join because of how it could benefit her.

“It looks really good on resumes and helps you build a better community with those who are psychology students, but specifically psychology students at your level of academic rigor,” she said.

These three groups are only a few of the many impactful clubs and organizations that exist at Flagler College. They each differ in what they focus on, yet whether they focus on hobbies, beliefs or careers, they each benefit Flagler students with a chance to share varying things with a community.

Even with the vast differences of the three clubs mentioned and their individual purposes, each offer the chance to travel in a community of supportive people; from Kpop Club going to cafes and concerts together to PSI CHI going to conferences across the country and CCF going on retreats and to Washington D.C.

Each of the groups benefits students in their own way regardless of how often they meet, or whether they are an old club, a new club or an international chapter.

Not many Flagler students realize the significance or variety of resources that are offered to them and that simply by joining clubs, they can get scholarships, internships, a community with friends to bond with both on and off-campus, opportunities to travel and opportunities for networking to get a head start with your career.

“Without PSI CHI, I wouldn’t have gone to the Southeastern Psychological Association Conference, and although I haven’t applied to the scholarships or internships, just knowing that I have the benefits that I do makes me feel more secure in general,” Beltran said.

Through clubs on campus students feel like they have a place where they truly belong.

“It is awesome we have a group now that we didn’t have before, and it’s amazing that when someone says they don’t have a lot of friends, through the club, we can invite them not only to meetings but to simply hang out and be friends outside of our club activities,” Phillips said.

The sense of community that students gain from clubs on campus has been so impactful and is continuing to change their lives.

“I didn’t see CCF at any club fair or anything but after a classmate invited me, I went once and then decided to come back. I felt community, a true community that I was bonding in just the first meeting and after that, it’s history,” Nicolaides said.

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