A Laugh, a Dance, and a Croissant

Author: Gabe Tauro

It was Activities Night. I had my mind made up. I was pretty set on joining a few theatre and service clubs; and calling it a day. As it turns out, this was not the case at all. By the end of the night, I ended up joining somewhere around thirteen to fifteen clubs! While I wasn’t going to actually participate in all of these clubs, keeping my options open was a great idea – especially for receiving emails about different club events that were happening on campus.

Notre Dame’s Activities Night showcased hundreds of clubs – all of which were very diverse and unique. Different cultural interests, service opportunities, and sports lined the floor of the Joyce Center. I was in complete awe. I didn’t really know where to start!

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Given the fact that I am fairly uncoordinated, I swiftly avoided the sports clubs and headed straight to what I was most familiar with – theatre. Coincidentally, I decided to wear my lucky The Who’s Tommy t-shirt to show my love of musicals. I didn’t expect anyone to actually recognize the musical, but, lo and behold! Members of various theatre clubs smiled and greeted me with welcoming arms at the sight of it. It felt only natural to write my name on their lists and continue on with my search.

Finding things that interested me was a cakewalk. There were a wealth of different opportunities just waiting to be discovered. In fact, many clubs went out of their way to give out free t-shirts, pens, and accessories to encourage membership. Not only were these clubs full of knowledge and fun, but they were also full of great, passionate people. For instance, when a representative of Le Cercle Français, Notre Dame’s French club, talked to me, he made everything sound so magical and alluring. I was, frankly, caught off-guard. He obviously enjoyed his time with the club, and simply wanted to share his experiences with others. After placing my name upon his list, I disappeared into the sea of clubs once more in hopes of finding more things that I liked.

While the time I spent at Activities Night was great, the one piece of advice I would give to anyone wanting to go in the future is to get there early! After around thirty minutes, the venue gets packed to the brim with hundreds of eager students wanting to discover their passions as well.  It becomes a frenzy of bodies looking around for new outlets to relieve any homework-related stress that may accumulate over the week.

After returning to my dorm with a hefty amount of fliers and free merchandise, I consolidated my pile, and narrowed my focus down to three clubs: the Humor Artists, Swing Dance Club, and… Le Cercle Français.

The great thing about clubs at Notre Dame is that they are very welcoming of newcomers. If something doesn’t work out, then no one is forced to keep attending club meetings. It is perfectly acceptable to contact a club leader and tell them you are no longer interested. As an example, while I continue to be active with Swing Dance Club and the Humor Artists, I realized that I didn’t speak even the slightest bit of French. While it isn’t a requirement, the club just wasn’t for me. There was absolutely no pressure in leaving, and things have been going swimmingly ever since.

Notre Dame does an excellent job of ensuring that everyone finds their own little niche – whether it be singing, rock-climbing, or even chess. With such an eclectic group of students, there is bound to be something for everyone.