Acronyms largely go unnoticed with how big a role they play in our lives and the same can be said about one that has become synonymous with our student life. The idea of Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) has been ingrained in us since we barely even learned to write and read. But every time we enter a new environment, we are faced with new opportunities as well as challenges, and that is no different as one takes on the new position as a freshman in SMU.
After the bonanza that is the Freshmen Experience Day, most of us are often left with questions of what CCAs are available at SMU. In the search for answers, it comes to light that there are two major groups that form an umbrella over the majority of CCAs in SMU. These two major groups are the SMU Sports Union (SSU) and the Arts & Cultural Fraternity (ACF). The next question on our minds is instantly: What are the actual differences in terms of experience in these two groups, and are the differences merely as simple as the difference between sports and the arts themselves?
In SMU, there are several sports CCAs that engage in various inter-university games and other competitions. In addition to this, for the benefit of interested parties that are keen on trying out a new sport with their friends, recreational clinics are held throughout the semester by these teams.
In general, the sports scene in SMU is a myriad of unique clubs that all have their plus points. As much as we would like to give you an analysis of each and every sports club in SMU, we would rather do a tell all about being a part of a sports CCA.
The bond that is formed between the members of a Sports CCA is truly one to cherish. Opportunities are plenty for those who are willing to dedicate the time and effort to build a bond among the people who not only share your interests, but also the passion and drive for success as well. It is not uncommon to see sports teams hanging out before training sessions together or hitting the gym as a large group. For example, the SMU Dragonboat Team is known to have allocated gym timings, during which they train together as a whole club. And this is part of the culture that was cultivated and passed down from batch to batch!
Being part of a sports team not only instills discipline in you, it also teaches you to be a better team player in all aspects of your life. As a sportsman, you represent your school and yourself; it is this attitude that many athletes carry on into their life, even long after they have left the arena. When you are school athlete who trains and juggles schoolwork, you become an efficient machine that practices good time management and juggling skills. Further, sports also open up a channel for you to vent frustrations, anger, happiness – you name it.
The Arts & Cultural Fraternity’s scene, on the other hand, is simply distinguished from the sports fraternity as the one where the opportunity to learn and pick up cognitive and creative skills is readily apparent.
There are many different CCAs under this umbrella that open their doors to anyone who is interested to learn, despite not having any prior experience. Some examples of CCAs that readily welcome anyone include The Funk Movement, Breakers, and Broadcast and Entertainment. Naturally, within the ACF family, there are CCAs that pride themselves on their high standards of performance they masterfully deliver at various competitions that they take part in, such as Eurthymix and Samba Masala. These CCAs are also the ones that have a rigorous selection process that requires you to showcase your talents!
Joining an Arts CCA is also more than just picking up aural skills, or kinesthetic skills: rather, it is about honing one’s creativity, confidence, and collaboration. Composing new music, or coming up with new dance moves to go with a song is not something that is done in a day. These take creativity, as well as the confidence in oneself to actually put them into action. Among the arts disciplines, collaboration is also not unheard of. The act of collaboration often inculcates in its participants the understanding of working together to accomplish a similar goal – and in SMU, we continue to uphold these facets of our Arts CCAs.
In the Arts fraternity, juniors also work closely with seniors who actively impart their skills and knowledge to the younger batches. This heartening display of showmanship is what the ACF takes pride in. In conjunction with its popular annual Arts Fest, the ACF usually takes the SMU arts scene to a whole new level of vim and vigour. So whether it is recognition and acclaim you seek or an attempt to pick up new skills, the Arts CCAs are certainly something worth checking out!
In conclusion, if you are curious as to which half of SMU you should be a part of, I leave you with the parting words of my own experience as a freshman: As someone who was a part of both fraternities, it can be said that there certainly are many benefits of being a part of both the Sports and Arts fraternities, where you get to meet people from all walks of life; experience an array of different skillsets, competitions and new skills; as well as learn to juggle them with your school load. If you are an adventurous person who would like to explore the multitude of opportunities that our large CCA arsenal has to offer, take a leaf out of my book and join both anyway!