By Nour Al-Ali
Being a student at AUS is not just about studying, believe it or not. It is about becoming an active member of its community; developing it as well as developing yourself in the process. What I like about being part of this particular community is the distinct element of diversity present at AUS. No one would feel left out because there is a little bit of something for everyone. And even then, if there isn’t something for you, you could easily create your own student club.
Extracurricular Identity: Your AUS Gateway to New Experiences
In addition to joining cultural clubs, you also get to discover new hobbies, advance your leadership skills, learn how to mediate between conflicting parties, develop your sportsmanship, and help others through community service work. You can even get a part-time job as a student helper in various departments of the university and gain experience while earning and saving some money for fun weekends.
Part of the AUS experience involves being active during university events, which there are many, including: Club Fair, On-Campus Student Employment Fair, Charity Mini-Marathon Festival, Career Fair, Business Forum, Global Day, Awareness Day, many conference and national day celebrations. In this regard, what better way to start than to enjoy orientation week?
The university has 64 student-run cultural and interest-oriented clubs. As for sports, we have 23 teams; 13 for males and 10 for females for a variety of sports including football, basketball, swimming, tennis, and many others. Students train on campus at the Sports Complex using modern and state-of-the-art facilities. It does not matter if you are not particularly athletic to join these teams. The key is to have willpower. Make sure you visit every booth that interests you during Club Fair.
Nonetheless, the university has a variety of cuisines for you to enjoy on-campus. From grills and buffets at Abella, to quick sandwiches and fast food meals at Subway, Grab & Go and Burger King. Perhaps if you’re in the mood for Mexican food, you can try Pick & Mix, or perhaps pasta and salads at Memento and Deli Marche. If you get tired from those options, you can always check the sandwiches the AUS Mini Mart offers, or go for a quick ride to Matajer nearby for even more options!
Oh! By the way, now that you may be making your life at AUS for the next few years, don’t miss out on receiving presents, packages and off-course, letters and seasonal cards. In that case, you will need to open your own Postal Address using the AUS Post Office.
Yes, you can also open your own student bank account at the Sharjah Islamic Bank branch located next to the library; and get your hair done in salons for both males (located in the basement), and females (located in front of female dorms).
Education at AUS: What You’re Really Here For
Even though the AUS community is designed for you to enjoy your time here, do not forget that the main reason you are here is to graduate and get that degree. So your journey begins with your experience with Banner, iLearn, meeting your Advisor, reading the Catalog, and visiting the bookstore. It is hard not knowing which professor to take courses with. Different professors have different styles of teaching, hence some may work perfectly with your studying style, and others may not. To learn more about how professors are in classrooms from students, I suggest joining the student-run Facebook group, AUS Banner. Not only that, but you can also switch courses with students if needed, ask for help, and perhaps even make new friends.
You can also join the student-run AUS Books to sell and buy used books. This is a convenient way to save money and even get a few side-notes to guide you through the required material. Be sure, however, to buy the same edition mentioned in your course syllabus. It is noteworthy to mention that those groups are independent from the university and only have student-generated content.
Don’t worry about fitting in university. Soon you’ll find your place, create new friendships to study with at the library, and gain experience for your CV. The one aspect you need to focus on most is your education, and getting those very important A’s.
Nour Al-Ali is an English Literature and Mass Communication double major junior at the American University of Sharjah.