I entered Activities Night like I entered most events during my first few weeks at McGill: wide-eyed, optimistic, and overwhelmed by the sheer number of people surrounding me. Fresh out of Frosh, I was ready to become one of those polymathic super-students pop culture prepared me for. It was time to reinvent myself through a new activity like chess, or acting, or student politics. I recalled my tour of Montreal last April, when I had observed upper-year students cramming for exams in Plateau cafés, their laptop shells adorned with stickers from various clubs and activities. They seemed so worldly and involved. I wanted to be just like them. Besides, I would only be taking five courses this year. In Grade 12, I took eight. Surely, I would have much more free time! How much harder could Political Science be than Writer’s Craft?
As much as I would love to be the kid in the café with dozens of laptop stickers, participating in every club and society simply isn’t sustainable. This is why I need to rescind some of those signups I made a few weeks ago…
A month into classes, I now understand why most university students only commit to one or two clubs, not forty. Academics are draining; papers pile up. Whether or not you live in residence, the campus is huge. Half the day is absorbed just walking from lecture to lecture, not to mention exercising, eating, and socializing. As much as I would love to be the kid in the café with dozens of laptop stickers, participating in every club and society simply isn’t sustainable. This is why I need to rescind some of those signups I made a few weeks ago…
So, to all the clubs I signed up for on Activities Night but will never attend,
It’s not you, it’s me.
To Chromatones A Cappella: I am not Anna Kendrick, I have never been Anna Kendrick, and as much as it pains me to admit it, I will never be Anna Kendrick. Please aca-scuse me as I move on.
To McGill Tango Society: they say it takes two to tango, but none of my friends seem to be interested. I may have to dip past this one.
To McGill Students Improv: in middle school, I did go through a weeklong “improv phase” characterized by a haze of Cheeto dust and high-intensity games of Zip Zap Zop. Unfortunately, ever since I have been haunted by the possibility of every conversation falling into an endless loop of, “yes, and…”.
To McGill Students Wine Society: I mean, I’d do it if I could be president.
To Liberal McGill: I mean, I’d do it if I could be prime minister.
To Hack McGill: the fact that we have a club called “Hack McGill” and yet we still haven’t found a way to use Minerva to add/drop significant others is disturbing. Next.
To The Gilbert & Sullivan Society: woah. We have this? That’s like, The Pirates of Penzance, right? In that case, call me the very model of a modern major general. Why? Because I’m draft-dodging, of course.
To McGill Students Mafia Club: isn’t that supposed to be secretive?
To McGill Students Anime Club: that’s definitely supposed to secretive.
To McGill Debating Society: one time in a conference, a classmate asked, “Can I offer a rebuttal to your rebuttal?” The question gave me a headache. Personally, I prefer the “family dinner” style of debating: loud, vindictive, and mostly involving people shouting the same opinions as they move in conversational circles.
To Herbivore Society of McGill: honestly, I was on board until a vegetarian restaurant offered me “dessert tofu”. Tofu. In the same category as cake. Nope.
Perhaps the only clubs we need are Tokyo Thursdays, Frappé Fridays, and Sit in Bed Rewatching Shameless Saturdays.
To Metal Society: after signing up for the Herbivore Society, I no longer feel comfortable wearing leather pants.
To McGill Outdoors Club: it’s all fun and games until a mosquito lands on the inside of your ear.
To The Bull & Bear: isn’t that a finance term? Oh, it’s a magazine. Sure, why not?
Perhaps the only clubs we need are Tokyo Thursdays, Frappé Fridays, and Sit in Bed Rewatching Shameless Saturdays. Or perhaps we should be grateful we have a student body so dynamic and enterprising that we have the privilege of having too many great extracurriculars to choose from. Either way, like so many first years navigating the enormity and energy that encompasses McGill, I know I will discover my interests eventually. I will find the activities that bring me a sense of joy, just like I will learn to balance work and fun, laptop stickers and midterm anxieties. I will meet my extracurricular soulmate soon, even if it means I have to suffer a few bad breakups along the way.