How joining a society helped me settle into university

02 Oct 2018
By Pauline M., Student at King's College London

As a new student living away from friends and family, uni may seem like a very lonely place at first. Making friends can be quite intimidating, especially if you’re not particularly sociable.

Luckily, there’s a ready-made solution: societies. These groups of like-minded students, coming together around a shared passion, are tools you can use to carve out your own independent and happy life at university.

Don’t worry if you don’t click with a particular group of people.

Here’s how I overcame my fears and found new friends through societies.

Deciding to get out there

When I first moved into my student halls, I found it difficult to mix with my flatmates because we all had very different interests. They were into hobbies that didn’t appeal to me, which made finding things to talk about quite difficult.

Then I realised it might be easier to mingle with people who share similar interests with me – so I took to my university’s student union page to see what kind of societies they had.

Trying different societies

This was both fun and a little bit intimidating because my university has loads of societies to choose from! I was instantly drawn to a society for people from my home country, but I went to one of their introductory events and realised it’s not quite right for me.

At this point, don’t worry if you don’t click with a particular group of people. You can always try out other societies. Explore things you’re interested in, and don’t worry whether you’re good at it. You can become a member of the tennis society without being particularly good with a racket. A lot of societies are very welcoming and will be eager to teach you more about their hobbies.

Finding the perfect fit

I then attended a few other introductory events and finally settled on a society that made me feel welcome. They were a gaming society that was very open to both competitive and recreational gamers, which made it the perfect environment for different people to interact in. The organisers did a fantastic job of helping the diverse members integrate into a friendly community.

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Learning about my new university and city

As I began attending more events, I learned a lot about the other students. They all came from different courses, countries, and backgrounds, which helped me discover more about their respective cultures and interests.

I also felt more connected to other branches of my university, whereas before I was convinced that I could only relate to people on my course. The different locations at which the events were held enabled me to travel across London and learn more about it.

So joining a society helped me to make friends with like-minded people, settle into university life, and become better acquainted with the city that was to become my home.

Feeling part of something

As you can see, there’s no need to worry about putting yourself out there! It’s a great way to get to know lots of new people and form a friendship group. It’s also worth exploring the events that your university and student union organise.

You don’t have to be a member of any society to go along, and they will help you combat any feelings of loneliness and feel part of the community.

Don’t worry if you don’t click with a particular group of people.
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Pauline is an English Language and Literature graduate and Masters student studying in London.