The Dolls & I: My Social Club Experience

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If you’ve ever found yourself strolling past Seney Hall at 11:55 AM on a Friday, you’ve probably come into contact with that odd group of students wearing matching shirts and shouting incoherently.

“Not this again,” you think to yourself. “Social clubs are so weird.”

And you’re absolutely right! Social clubs are completely out of the ordinary when compared to the other clubs and teams at Oxford. Best described as “diet fraternities,” they mimic the style and structure of Greek life and cultivate an experience entirely unique to the college.

“But what’s the point?” is the response I most often receive upon revealing to another that I’m a member of Dooley’s Dolls, the oldest social club on campus. After all, it’s not as if these clubs are real fraternities or sororities. What kind of gain can one even expect from joining a social club?

In all honesty, social clubs at Oxford are exactly what you make them. If you’re looking to gain a positive experience, you’ll undoubtedly get one. From service projects, to mixers, to simply having a group of people to sit with every day in Lil’s, social clubs hold a vast range of opportunities to improve upon your college experience.

If the only thing you’re looking for, however, is to rack up another extracurricular, social clubs may not be the path for you. I’ll be the first to say that I had a lot of trouble in the beginning with buying in to the whole process. There was something so strange to me about accepting twelve strangers I had never met before as my new “family.” Looking back now, I am incredibly happy with my decision to stick with it.

My choice to tap in to Dooley’s Dolls was rooted in a desire to find my social footing during the first month of my freshman year. In the process of that search, I met some of my closest friends and created unique bonds with former Oxford students many years before me. In fact, one of my favorite things about being a member of Dooley’s Dolls is the people. The Dolls are all incredibly kindhearted and caring. It is not every day that you come across a group of people who are so deeply devoted to preserving the history of Oxford, creating smiles on the faces of their fellow students by handing out free donuts every Friday morning, and being the most caring and empathetic friends to everyone around them. The Dolls are also wildly passionate and (way too) involved around campus. Every single member is a leader of some form at Oxford―from SI’s, to club presidents, to RA’s, it is apparent and slightly worrisome how little sleep these busy people must get.

However, above all else, the greatest undeniable fact about the people of Dooley’s Dolls is that they raise each other up no matter what. A perfect example of this can be found in the way that we end each of our meetings. A final segment titled “Celebrations” caps off every Thursday night for the Dolls, in which we go around detailing even the smallest of successes each of us have achieved that week and celebrate one another accordingly. It serves as a reminder that no matter how terrible someone may be feeling one week, there’s always something worth celebrating.

So, yes, social clubs are incredibly weird, but that’s one of the most marvelous things about them. Our unconventional nature is what makes us so unique. Being a member of a social club at Oxford is so much more than doing things like screaming in front of Seney Hall and wearing matching jerseys. To become a member of a social club is to become part of something bigger than yourself, and my decision to do so is something I truly believe to be worth celebrating.

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