It’s already time to start thinking about the new school year and with that comes lots of questions. How will I find time for myself outside of exams and lectures? How can I meet a great group of friends? Will I still have time for hobbies and extracurriculars? We’ve got a suggestion: start a club at your school! It’s the perfect way to break up your studies — yeah, yeah, we know academics take priority, but there’s still time to establish your “personal brand” while you’re in school and still have a good time doing it. It’s like the academic equivalent of killing two birds with one stone ;) and can help you kick butt beyond campus life. Here are five reasons for you to kick off a collegiate get-together.

1. Find your expertise and own it: If you start a club at your school, you will position yourself as a leader in whatever area your club falls in to. This is something to embrace — don’t shy away from the responsibility that goes with being a leader, rock that ish with confidence and others (your peers, your professors) will take notice. You can establish the focus of your club, the direction it will go and how it operates, which will set you up for serious real world success in the long run. It can prepare you to be a strong future team member — and eventual team leader — in your first job post-grad. Don’t get cocky (important!) but find a balance where your confidence + happiness is evident to other students, club members and friends.

2. Form worthwhile connections: The best thing about being in a club in school is that you’ll be surrounded by other like-minded peeps who you can add to your network (and your friend circle). We’re talking lots of common interests, shared goals and hobbies. More likely than not, the whole group will hit it off and have lots to talk about long after the school year has ended. It’s so much easier to make new friends (but keep the old) when there’s already an established common ground and things to chat about that you’re both in to.

3. Be inspired to turn your interest into a career: Lots of co-founders meet in classes before starting a business — and it makes total sense. You can find people who value the same interest you do, understand your dedication to it and will inspire you to make something out of it. Sometimes it takes a little push from a trusted friend to get your dreams + aspirations in motion to become an eventual career, and a club buddy of yours could be that person. Companies including Google, Dropbox, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Yahoo, Warby Parker and more all have founders that met in school.

4. Take your studies outside of the classroom: You learn a bunch from lectures and all that in-classroom teaching, but you can really apply yourself and your learnings when you’re experiencing real life. Assuming your club is somewhat rooted in your area of study, you’ll be reinforcing what you learn and learning from others in your club. It’s also a great way to get clarity on what you’re truly passionate about outside of school; sometimes it takes more than a lecture to give you that “a ha!” moment where you feel comfortable in the direction you’re working toward, career-wise. Your interests can (and do) change, so experiences, like starting a club, can help you discover what areas you work best in — and what you love the most.

5. Challenge yourself in a new way: It definitely takes guts to step up and start your own club, but that’s part of embracing + accepting the challenges that come with growing up (including going to college). College is a big step, so why not really make the most of it and challenge yourself even more? You never know what you’re capable until you set out and try it. There will inevitably be bumps along the road to getting there — like figuring out how to manage your time well, because you won’t have a lot of it — but the feeling of fulfillment after you accomplish something in your club will all be worth it in the end.

Have you ever started a club? If so, do you have any tips to share? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.