Societies: What are they and why should I join one?

10 Aug 2021
By Hazel M., Freelance writer, journalist and total bookworm at Unite Students

If you’re wondering what a society is and why you should join one, you’ve come to the right place.

No doubt that, since you started planning for uni, you’ve come across a lot of terms you’ve never heard of before.

From having to deal with loan applications and finances, to working out what you actually need to take with you, there’s a lot to juggle (and, yes, it can be a bit of a headache).

The good news is that there are some things you can start getting excited about right now – including societies.

So, what is a society?

If fraternities from American teen films are currently flashing through your mind, you’ll be forgiven – though, there are some vital differences.

Societies are essentially clubs that you can join throughout your time at uni (but, unlike fraternities, they don’t usually involve humiliating initiations and you don’t need to look a certain way to join).

Ranging all manner of interests, from netball and debate to knitting and scuba diving, some of the bigger universities will literally have hundreds of societies to join on offer.

And, if you have a particular interest in mind that isn’t currently on the list, you can even start your own one (your student union can help to show you how).

While some may require your presence a couple of times a week, others will be pretty flexible. And, really, it’s all about balancing your commitments and studies to create a fulfilling and exciting student life.

So, what are you waiting for? Here are some of the key reasons why joining a society could be perfect for you.

Take a break from study

It’ll come as no surprise when I say that studying at university is a whole new experience and you’ll wonder why you ever stressed over your GCSEs.

From learning to manage your own time to losing that precious leeway your old college teachers once gave you for late assignments, things are about to get intense.

However, it’s also important to make sure you’re getting real downtime. Joining a society can be a great way to switch on from the stress of studying, as well as help you burn off some steam.

Whether that’s through a brutal game of hockey or spending an hour to help restore local conservation, there’s always something to help you take your mind off things.

Make new friends

Making new friends is probably one of the main reasons many people decide to join societies.

By joining something you’re interested in, you’ll no doubt find other like-minded people who you instantly click with. And who doesn’t want that?

This can be incredibly helpful if you’re particularly introverted or struggle to meet new people. A common interest means having common ground already, which can help to spark some great conversation starters and even see you making friends for life.

Build new skills

Yes, you’re getting a degree but it’s also a good idea to rack up some new skills to boost that CV for when you graduate.

Many employers love to see that you’ve taken part in societies during your time at uni because this shows them that you’re willing to put yourself out there and become a team player.

There are also lots of opportunities to try your hand at different roles, from petitioning to be your society’s treasurer to landing head of the events team. After all, every society needs a leader and it could be you!

Do something you enjoy

Most importantly, joining a society should be about enjoying yourself. No matter if it’s because you just want to try something new or you’re continuing a passion for a particular interest you already have, make sure you’re having fun.

And, don’t forget, if you’re not enjoying it, try something different! Joining a society isn’t a requirement when you head to uni, but there will definitely be a club there that’s perfect for you.

For more advice on student living, click here.

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When not stringing words together, can usually be found on the local beach with her cocker spaniel pup, Huey.