Benefits of joining a club or society

Journalism student Stephanie Smarrelli wrote to JMAC about what it’s like being a part of a club here at La Trobe University.

If you were to ask me what is the one thing I would recommend to every first-year student starting university, it would be to join a club or society.

And no, I don’t mean show up to O-Week and sign every clipboard you can get your hands on because you want to take the cool freebies and food on the table. I mean really join a club and participate in it regularly.

My main reasons for suggesting this is because not only will you meet a group of likeminded people who you can become friends with but beyond that the networking possibilities are endless.

As co-president of the Journalism, Media, Arts and Communication Society (JMAC), I’ve experienced first-hand the networking benefits of being part of a society. People talk, and the more people know about you and your area of expertise, the better. We’ve held events with people in the media industry and that has created valuable contacts for us and other society members to use when looking for jobs and internships. There’s been many times when someone I’ve met through JMAC has contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in something related to my career, and of course one of the first places I go to if someone asks me to suggest someone for a particular role is JMAC.

Particularly for myself as a journalism student we spend a lot of time around the other people in our degree. Yes, you can make friends by saying hi to the person next to you in class every week but it’s the friends I catch up with outside of class that really have my back and help keep me sane throughout the ups and downs of university.

JMAC makes it easy to find job opportunities as we have a Facebook group full of current students, staff and alumni. Often former students and staff post on there to try and find someone for a job, which is really handy as sometimes these jobs aren’t advertised elsewhere.

If you’re thinking of helping to run a society, it’s not easy but the good outweighs the bad.

For JMAC and most clubs and societies, we have an executive team that is elected at the start of the year at our annual general meeting.

As much as I absolutely love everyone on our executive team, everyone is crazy busy so it becomes hard for everyone to stay on top of their roles. As co-president a lot of energy goes into keeping everyone on track and picking up the slack when need be.

Hours and hours go into preparing every single JMAC event and stall. The biggest and most stressful is our annual Arts Ball. Last year, I was JMAC’s event manager so I know just how demanding organising a ball can be.

The most time-consuming part of organising the ball is working out seat allocations and moving people around as they add more friends to their tables.

This year the ball is being held on Saturday October 27th at the Lincoln of Toorak. If you’d like to come along and experience being part of a society for yourself you can buy tickets to the ball here. The event is not limited to society members and all students are encouraged to come along.

If you’re a media and communications student who wants to chat, join JMAC or you’re a student in a different course wanting to find out more feel free to get in with contact myself or any other member of the JMAC team who will be happy to help out.

Stephanie Smarrelli is a third year Media and Communications (Journalism) student at La Trobe University. You can follow her on Twitter @steph_smarrelli