This past week I had the privilege of traveling to Chicago for a journalism conference with several members of The Equinox staff. Throughout the five days, we attended sessions geared to give us new skills as writers, editors and leaders. The amount of information that was made available to us—information that should be further disseminated to the rest of the students at Keene State College who are interested in journalism and writing—proved to be massive and this conference represented just one way in which clubs on campus and the greater KSC community offer students incredible experiences, if students are willing to accept them.

Through the wide variety of clubs and organizations offered at KSC, it is not hard to find one that suits nearly every interest. From the Republican Club to the Anime Club, every club offers a unique experience and opportunity to expand one’s interests and horizons. Prior to working for The Equinox, I never imagined myself as taking an interest in journalism or media—I had my specific hobbies and pastimes, and newspapers were not one of them. However, now I have expanded my skills through working for the paper, skills that make me a stronger candidate for a variety of jobs. This expansion of skills is only one major benefit of becoming involved on campus.

Another benefit is less tangible, although it increases real life skills. This is the opportunity to attend conferences in different parts of the country. For some students who have never had the ability to travel outside of New England prior to college, this opportunity gives them the chance to try their hand at traveling and all of the joys and pains that come along with it.

At the conference in Chicago, I experienced firsthand some of the perils of traveling, in particular the possibility of getting something stolen. While I was by myself in the hotel lobby, I had my laptop stolen. Through the initial panic and struggle of communicating with unresponsive security officers, I learned several important lessons—including never assuming bad things will never happen to you and the importance of remaining calm in panic situations.

Fortunately, after an hour of searching the hotel, the security officers found the computer and were able to return it to me, along with a scolding of having been “too upset” when I found out it was stolen. Now, I’m not sure what involves being “too upset” in this situation, but I do know now that 1) I was incredibly lucky and 2) dealing with authorities is extremely difficult.

This example of firsthand learning is an extreme example of how being involved in clubs can bring about new skills and learning experiences. However, it is true that club involvement allows for a chance to expand both one’s idea of self as well as one’s ability to handle difficult situations. In the end, the best teachers are those moments that give us pause and shake us up. And in the end, active involvement in clubs and organizations provides the perfect opportunity for these moments to occur.


Hannah Walker can be contacted at

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