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Joining college clubs can be a tricky business. That is, if you’re like me in that you have a vague interest in a particular activity and hope to become better acquainted with it. Meeting a group of people that are far more knowledgeable than yourself can be disconcerting in the best of circumstances. So, here follows a brief account of the school clubs I became associated with in college.

The first group that I joined up with was, believe it or not, a religious one. Essentially, I wanted to find a friendly community and get in some religious studies on the side. It turned out to be more than I bargained for. In case you haven’t already guessed, religious types and I don’t always get along. Apparently there’s something about me that makes people want to preach to me. As you can imagine, this led to some enlightening conversations and a lot of awkwardness. So, long story short, I ran with the group for a couple of semesters before we gave up on each other.

The next group I happened to join was a book club. No, nothing like Oprah’s book club. This thing was run by Berkeley students. So naturally, we could only read about nerdy things, like fantasy worlds and mythical extrapolations. Now, before I joined this book club, I had considered myself to be a pretty nerdy guy; since my field of study involved locking myself in a room with roughly my body weight in reading materials. Oh boy, was I wrong. I had never before experienced such a degree of nerdy-ness. It was still fun and all, but I constantly felt like I was on the edge of a world I had little to no understanding of. Case in point: one guy’s semester project for the club consisted entirely of a Dungeons and Dragons mod. I’m sure that he put a lot of time and effort into it, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is a completely alien concept to me. To their credit, I stopped attending the sessions not because of their company, but because I don’t find it healthy to overanalyze works of fiction.

I think I can get down to the issue without going into all of the info-sessions I briefly attended before heading slyly for the back door. No, it’s not my commitment issues, though I suppose that could be part of it. You see, all the groups I tried to join were run by avid enthusiasts of the activity, which makes sense, but also made the assumption that anyone joining up would be similarly knowledgeable. When people would inevitably discover that this was not the case, there was a little bit of tension. Maybe this is just a Berkeley phenomenon, or maybe I’m just really bad at picking clubs, or maybe enthusiasts just scare me, but I would have been pleased to see more groups of people with a passing interest in things. Oh well.

Photo courtesy of Tyler Blakley.