The Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band prepares to take the field during the halftime performance of a football game. PHOTO CREDIT: EZRA MARGONO/ THE STATESMAN

The Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band prepares to take the field during the halftime performance of a football game. PHOTO CREDIT: EZRA MARGONO/ THE STATESMAN

One of the most obvious facts about Stony Brook University is its immense and intimidating size. Its huge size and population can make it extremely difficult to form strong bonds with other people, which makes it easier to deal with the stress of such an academically challenging school. Perhaps the best way to survive and prosper in this new and rigorous environment is to join something bigger than yourself, specifically an organization or club.

With over 300 clubs and organizations on campus, it is so simple to become involved. Each group holds general body meetings, which are open to all students. Some clubs do have an application process, so it is good to stay on top of what each club requires. Every semester, on the academic mall, the school hosts an involvement fair. It is a good opportunity to walk around and see what the school has to offer. Many sports have a club, which is a great way to stay active and stay involved. Other clubs range from arts, music, to language.

These are all ways to create new friend groups, and expand one’s own knowledge and skills. Stony Brook is a large university and it can be easy to get lost in the fast pace of life here. Organizations also provide contacts for future employment and studies. Pre- professional societies bring in speakers and advisors to help with both employment and graduate school applications. It also creates networks with alumni and gives students an opportunity to figure out their own career path.

One of the largest and most active organizations on campus is the Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band, which now has over 200 members after starting only seven years ago. While the Athletic Bands are technically run by the University’s Office of the Dean of Students, it has a core group of student leadership who assist in assuring that the band operates smoothly and efficiently. The long hours that the group puts in are rewarded by a strong sense of community within the institution. These intrepid students within the Athletic Bands play at all football and most basketball games and attempt to be a focal point for school spirit on campus. Being part of this organization has allowed me to meet amazing people and introduced me to opportunities that I otherwise would not have had access to.

Known for being a predominantly science oriented school, the pre-med and pre-PA club bring in admissions counselors from the Stony Brook Medical School. These alliances only provide students more opportunities for getting their foot in the door earlier.

Clubs also provide ways for students to find new talents, hobbies, and also things that you previously enjoyed. Even at this newspaper, many staff members have a background outside of journalism, yet found a common interest in writing. Leaving one’s comfort zone is what clubs and organizations allow you to do. The more you get involved, and find new passions, the more you will get from the ‘Stony Brook Experience’.