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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Dirt Cheap Clubs and Activities

Although I keep promoting free activities and not spending any money (or the least amount of it), there is something to be said for joining clubs at your college or university, even if they have a fee attached to them.  Why join a club that charges a fee? Here are a few reasons.
1. Clubs at college and universities in Canada are inexpensive.  VERY inexpensive.  Compared to similar clubs in the community, campus clubs are dirt cheap because they receive funding from the institutions and free use of the facilities.  For example, Queen’s dance club only charges between $55 and 80 for their one-hour dance classes; that’s one hour PER WEEK from September to March!  What a deal (if you are unfamiliar with dance lesson prices, the 45 minute class I signed up my daughter for cost over $300 per school year, and that’s a cheap one).
2. In order to fee happy in your surrounding on campus (whether you are there for the day or you live on or close to campus), you need to be able to enjoy yourself in an activity that does NOT bring a lot of stress (like classes – even if you LOVE math, math classes can bring stress) and where you meet people who share an interest outside of academics.
3. Trying new activities is important in discovering yourself, who you are and what you like.  Post-secondary institutions are typically much larger than high school so there are more choices of activities to try.  For example, you can play sports recreationally in universities, in a club or a league, not just as part of an official university team.  You can also try activities like ballroom dancing; Asian cuisine; and Quidditch.  
4. If you do not spend any time having fun, you will be more likely to go on a shopping spree, go drinking at bars, or join some other activities that will cost you much more money.  Therefore, joining a club is a smart investment into frugality.
5. Many clubs have a try-out period: early in September, you can often try a few classes for free or there may be a welcome session where you can meet club members and eat for free – not a bad deal for just checking out the club!
6. If you feel lost because you feel out of place or very different from everyone else on campus, don’t.  With thousands of people registers at your institution (most likely), there is at least one other person that understands you and can be your friend.  If may be hard to find a few of these people, but if you join a club that promotes your values or what you are interested in (no matter how unique or geeky these are), you will probably find someone you can spend time with.  On most campuses (or would that be ‘campi?’), there are religious associations, cultural associations (Chinese Associations; Indian Associations), and causes-based groups (animal-rights; children wishing foundations; Heart and Stroke raising fund club; etc.).
7. If you cannot afford the low cost of these clubs, do not despair – the ones that charge (even a small amount) do so because they have running costs, such as hiring teachers (for lessons), buying and maintaining equipment (canoes in the outdoors club) or renting out space outside campus (a gymnastics club).  However, most clubs in which members work at raising funds for a charity do not have entry fee – you are a volunteer in the club – so you can join for free.  Clubs like these would be a Cancer-awareness club, a blood drive organisations, etc.  Find a cause that is dear to you and join!
Colleges and universities offer an almost endless variety of clubs and organisations.  They are a fun and inexpensive way to meet similar-minded people and make friends, as well as enjoying an inexpensive hobby.  Go join!

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