Why you should join a society
They’re a great way to experience something new, make friends,and learn or develop a skill.
If you’re unsure, a society is essentially a club run by students, for students. You’ll find a society for almost anything you’re interested in - whether that’s sports, politics, knitting, dance, religion, films, music, or volunteering. Societies are about having fun and meeting new, like minded people, plus a chance to learn new things.
Most societies meet once a week and plan activities, with some including day trips, holidays, competitions, and annual balls. There’s usually certain expenses for joining a society, but they’re often small, and you’re not obligated to attend all activities if money is tight.
When I first looked at joining a society, I wanted to try something new, and maybe even a bit daring. I came across the mountaineering society - a society based on rock climbing and long hikes. While I already enjoyed hiking, I had never properly rock climbed before. However, it only took one taster session and I was hooked.
I now go to climbing sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On Wednesdays after climbing, the entire society goes to the local campus pub together - where we all eat discounted food and do a pub quiz. The society recently ran their first trip of the year, where we went to the Lake District. There, I saw some amazing views, spent time with lovely people, and while we couldn’t climb due to snow, we got lots of hiking in. It was the best trip I’ve been on in a long time, and I came back feeling so grateful to be part of such a wonderful group filled with friendships that will last a lifetime.
At the end of each year, we head to the society ball. This is one night where multiple societies join together to eat, dance, socialise and party. You get to meet new people from all different societies, and might even walk away with a plan to join another society next year. My university recently ran an Athletic Union ball with all sports societies invited, where over 400 people attended. We all turned up in black tie for a three-course meal, and had free professional photos taken. At the end of the night, the bhangra society performed for us, followed by a raffle with huge prizes. It was certainly a night I will remember forever, and I was proud to be part of it.
Societies can seem like a huge commitment, but they’re not. Just because a society may run multiple sessions a week, does not mean you need to turn up to each one. University workload is already enough to balance, so use societies as a way to have a break; if one week you are really busy, just skip the sessions. I decided to participate with the badminton society and the biosciences society, but I don’t take these societies as seriously as mountaineering - I just attend their sessions once a month to relax and hang out with friends.
If you want more of a commitment, I’d recommend being part of a societies’ committee. This essentially means you run the society along with a few others. There are many roles in the committee, such as social secretary, president, publicity secretary, treasurer, head of communications and much more.
You are only a student for a limited amount of time, so don’t waste the opportunity to be part of a society. Whether you find a new passion or just make new friends, there are no regrets when it comes to joining a society - just give it a go!