As someone who is not a fresh out of high school college student, it is hard sometimes to understand that we DO have value to these organizations. At first I was reluctant to join anything. I felt out of place. After the first semester I had a high GPA and was invited to join two clubs as a result. The Honor’s Committee does charity work and promotes academic achievement and community. Phi Theta Kappa is similar but requires no extra classes and it is an international club that also promotes scholarships to deserving students. I joined up and realized that a surprisingly large number of students are 25 or older. some students are older than I am myself.
This realization made me decide to reconsider my self-imposed isolation. I began by spending some time with members of PTK and the HC. I also attended a Club Rush event on campus and found our chapter Gay Straight Alliance. As someone who identifies as pansexual (accepts and is attracted to all traditional genders as well as transgender and genderfluid people), I felt this might be a place for me to call home and find acceptance. I was not only right, but I am now the vice-president of the club.
The GSA has helped to transform my mindset into one of leadership. PTK and the HC helped me to arrive here as well. I have organized a clothing drive to benefit a local charity through both GSA and PTK efforts. The charity sells clothing and other items to provide free HIV testing to the public. We have big plans for the year and by the winter term I will be the club president and have more responsibility than ever.
These club experiences are unforgettable. I have made friends and improved skills I consider valuable for my future career. As older students we bring our life experience and can view the collective projects with this wisdom. We also can gain new perspective with the younger students and their world views. The important thing is to remember that there is still an age difference. While I’ll enjoy lunch out with my club members, I would not try to go to a nightclub with the 21 year-olds. I respect their lives and opinions, but I can’t bring myself up for that humiliation. I know that at 32 it would be bad to go to the hottest clubs with these younger people. This is their time. But, this doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy their conversation, company, and learn from them in a school club situation.
Whatever your interests, your school has a club for it. You can have a fulfilling experience with other students regardless of age barriers. Just remember the differences while appreciating (genuinely) the time your all share.