When you arrive at BJU as a freshman, you feel like Nemo in “Finding Nemo.” You’re just a small fish in a big sea, trying to explore new opportunities, learn new things and, perhaps the scariest, make new friends. Knowing this, BJU requires all incoming freshmen to join one of the 40 campus societies, which encourage “productive, cooperative and godly relationships that display Christlike character” and provide the opportunity “to develop leadership skills by serving in various offices,” according to bju.edu.
From the first society meeting you attend to the last, you should seize the opportunities your society provides.
The first goal—to provide friendship—is especially beneficial for freshmen looking for rides to church, help in En 102 or just a lunch date.
You can’t make friends with 3,000 people, but you can certainly make friends within a group of 20 to 100 of your peers. Like a sports team, societies provide a fun environment to get to know a smaller group of people better.
Go to the weekly prayer meetings each week for a half hour. Taking the time to pray with and for your brothers and sisters in Christ will help you to develop a deeper and more meaningful relationship with your fellow society members.
Go on stags, community outings for society members only, which typically feature fun activities such as white-water rafting, paintball or hiking.
Go on dating outings, community outings that allow you to bring a date or friend, which include everything from horseback riding to formal dinners.
Join intramural sports programs. According to the Bruins website, intramurals are meant to promote a healthy, active, God-honoring lifestyle, as well as social interaction, teamwork and personal achievement. These are all valuable ideals that you should learn both inside and outside of the classroom during your college career.
The second goal—to provide opportunities for leadership—is especially beneficial for sophomores, juniors and seniors looking to get more involved in their society and to add leadership experience to their résumés.
You have the opportunity to serve in a number of offices, including president, vice president, chaplain, chorister, secretary and treasurer. As an officer, you can help plan fun, Christ-honoring society meetings, prayer meetings, stags, dating outings and outreach opportunities.
Serving as an officer will help you practice leadership skills for careers down the road that will require you to perform the same sort of duties, such as planning meetings, encouraging others, speaking in front of large groups of people and organizing events.
In addition, being in a leadership position allows you to effect change in your society. If you think you could help to improve your society, then try for an officer position. Even if you’ve never led before, college is the time to learn new skills and try new things.
Whether you’re clownfish Nemo the freshman or shark Bruce the senior, everyone can benefit from the relationships and leadership opportunities provided by societies. So don’t sit in a corner studying for Bible Doctrines. Reach out. Speak out. And go out.