University is fast approaching and as every fresher knows this means time to make friends, join societies and drink far, far too much. The freshers fair is a site to behold. Hundreds of stalls littered across campus with flyers, stickers and freebies galore to persuade the new freshers that their society is the one to join. I remember my freshers week very well. I jumped in head first joining (and paying membership for) at least 5 societies which was a terrible mistake. I wasted a lot of money on societies that I never participated in because out of the 5 I joined I only ever went to one. Without that one society I wouldn’t be writing for this website today, hell without that society this website might not even exist today. SpiceUK started as a student radio show and has since become this incredible website all thanks to clubs and societies.
Clubs and societies are important at university. They allow you to make friends, add to your resume but most importantly have fun. Despite this it can be daunting when deciding what you should join but fear not as I have compiled this handy guide to clubs and societies at university.
Find your jam
This one should be easy. Just find what you like to do, if you like sports join a sports club, if you like films join a film club and if you like radio then join the student radio station. It really is as simple as that.
Don’t join them all
Now this was mentioned in the introduction but I wanted to make it very clear. You can’t do everything, and that’s OK. There will always be those few people you know or see who are a part of every society but lets be honest that really isn’t for everyone. I tried in first year and failed miserably. In second year I learnt from my mistakes and focused in on a few main societies and found that it was much more rewarding than spreading myself thinly among many.
Be open to new things
While its easy to join societies that you know you will love like Film or Yoga but sometimes you have to take a leap of faith. I know many people who joined societies on a whim because they’d always been interested in something but never had the confidence to try. Sometimes it can backfire and you won’t enjoy it but other times you can find a new passion or a skill you never thought you had.
Go to the socials
If there is a social go to it. Especially in the first few weeks. There is nothing harder than joining a society late when everyone is already best buds. You need to go along to the first events you can and show your face. It can be pretty awkward at first if you don’t know anyone but that’s what the social are for. Some of my best nights out in Leeds have been society nights outs like pub crawls or live music nights. Of course its fun going out with your new fresher friends but socials are easily the best way to make new friends and find new places.
Don’t drink too much at the first social
You don’t want everyone to know you as the guy/gal who drank too much, hit on the club president, then vomited all over the floor (no this is not a personal experience). You only get one chance at a first impression so make it count. If you do make a fool of yourself then you may have to live with it but at least people will remember you so there’s always that.
It’s all very well going to socials but if you don’t actually take part in the society you’ll find yourself very quickly on the outskirts. Just volunteer for things and go along to any events they put on.
It’s never too late
It’s the classic tale. You drank too much in freshers week and missed all the fairs and didn’t join any societies. FEAR NOT. It’s never to late to join. From my experience helping run a society they are always keen for more members and will definitely help you out even if you turn up late. I know too many people who felt that it was too late to join so missed out on a year of fun. Make sure this isn’t you!
I hope this has been a handy guide and taken away some of the questions you may have had. I seriously cannot recommend anything more than joining a society at uni. They can give you amazing experiences, amazing friends and amazing opportunities that will help you more than any degree can. While you are at university to study *wink wink* your course can never give you the real world social experiences and benefits of a society. So don’t be shy and remember if any of you are in Leeds join the Radio it’s the best.