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Essay

University clubs

By Kip A. Cates

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One of the pleasures of university life is taking part in student clubs. Most campuses provide a variety of associations that can enrich the social and educational experience of students. Joining a club allows you to pursue your interests, widen your horizons, develop new skills and make new friends.

In Japan, university clubs can be divided into three main types: sports clubs like baseball, kendo and tennis; culture clubs such as music, drama and art; and academic clubs such as astronomy, history and law. Most universities also have student councils and campus newspapers.

Universities overseas have all these and more. Often, you find many clubs related to politics, religion, identity and community service.

Some clubs support political parties, like the Young Republicans in the U.S. Others address human rights, like Amnesty International. Yet others provide support for students of faith, including Muslims, Jews and Christians.

Identity clubs bring together students from specific racial, ethnic or social groups. These include associations for black students, Asian students and students who identify as LGBT. Community service clubs enable students to contribute to society through teaching refugees, helping disabled children or working on environmental issues.

While I was at college, I joined the Student Counseling Club. This provided advice and support to students with academic, personal or financial problems.

There were 50 of us in the club. To prepare for our work, we underwent special training from professional social workers and crisis counselors.

Our work consisted of staffing the Student Counseling Desk and answering calls to our Crisis Hotline. Running the desk was fairly easy. This usually involved solving minor problems and giving directions to lost students.

Answering the hotline was much more stressful, especially late at night. Once the phone rang, you never knew who might be calling or what problems they faced. You had to be ready for anything!

Some students phoned to discuss personal problems involving boyfriends, girlfriends or parents. Others called in with worries about grades. Some were lonely and just needed someone to talk to. Yet others wanted advice about money, sex or drugs.

The most difficult calls were from students who were depressed or suicidal. Some were isolated, homesick and unable to make friends. Others felt overwhelmed by their classes, homework and the stress of student life. To deal with their problems, we had to use all our training to listen carefully, express sympathy, ask questions and provide alternatives.

Volunteering for the counseling club was a valuable experience that helped me develop my communication skills. It’s important to provide counseling and support to the many people who have difficulty coping with our stressful modern world!

大学のクラブ活動

大学には学生生活をより充実したものにする、さまざまな種類のクラブ活動がある。筆者は学生時代、学生からの相談を受けるカウンセリングクラブに所属していた。

The Japan Times ST: October 6, 2017

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート

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2017年10月27日号    試読・購読   デジタル版
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