By Bethany Norris
- University societies and sports clubs are an excellent way to jump into university life. You get to try new things, or keep up with old hobbies, meet new people with similar interests that you may not have met otherwise and it looks really good to employers on your CV. They are as much a part of your education at university as your actual course.
For many students university is the first time they have lived away from home. You will be in a new town or city, surrounded by strangers. It can all be a bit scary, and the Freshers Fayre is one of the scariest things you’ll have to do in your first week. I know so many first years that went to the Freshers Fayre and the most interesting thing they got out of it was a free pen! That’s not what university is about, especially in your first year!
Although it was nerve wracking fighting my way through the crowds to get to the stalls I managed to sign up for the Athletics Society and now I’m so glad I did. Societies, especially sports societies, can give you a non-course related escape.
Most societies are flexible with when they train or meet. You can be as busy as you choose, so coursework or a part-time job is no excuse. At the Athletics Society you could be busy four nights a week if you wanted to, but I chose to train two nights and occasionally go to the social.
Everyone is welcoming and you get to know each person really quickly- after all you must all have something in common if you go to the same society. In the second semester I joined another society. The Feminist Society, for which I am now president elect.
The commitment was not the only difference in my two societies. Athletics costs me £70 a year whereas the Feminist Society is free. They also socialise differently. I know if I want a loud night out in bars and clubs then the Athletics Social would be best, or if I want a night with quiet discussion then the Feminist Society meetings are what I need.
Having two societies has broadened my friendship group. You can never have enough friends at university as there is no guarantee you’ll like the people you live with or who are on your course. You may also find you like to socialise in different ways at different times. Societies are one of the best ways you can learn about yourself in a safe and friendly environment.
As there are so many different societies and clubs, there is no reason to not find something that suits your price range and free time. If there’s absolutely nothing that appeals to you then the university’s Students Union may even help you to set up your own society. One thing is for sure, I have never regretted joining the societies I did and I can’t wait to see what next year will bring.