Freshers’ Fayre is undeniably an overwhelming experience. A Goldman Sachs stall to your left, a Dominos Free Pizza sign to your right, it is not surprising students trawl back to halls with a bunch of discounted wares and free pens. But I urge you to look beyond this enticing spectacle and investigate the wonderful world hidden in the array of university societies. There is much to be gained by such a venture, and I promise, you will never look back- read the pros of joining a university society!
Social perks: Making friends at uni, as you will no doubt have been told, is vital for a happy university experience. But course peers and flatmates are like family: you can’t choose ‘em. Making friends that you have chosen to make yourself is important. So make the most out of joining a society that shares similar interests to you. There are HUNDREDS of societies to join- ranging from “chocolate appreciation club, to Investment Banking society…you name it, they will exist. And if not, create one yourself!
Explore: You know that hobby you’ve always been interested in but never got round to picking up? Now’s your chance to try it out. Many societies offer free ‘give it a go’ sessions, where you can trial run that interest of yours in areas such as knitting, darts, or wine-tasting. Niche clubs are also offered- who knew that you weren’t the only one obsessed with putting hummus on absolutely everything (yes that’s right, there’s a hummus society at LSE), or choose cats without fail in the cat vs dog debate (for cat lovers out there, see Oxford’s Cat Soc).
Further your talents: Whilst you may have been a big fish in a small pond in your home town, joining a university sports team, music society, or even chess soc, means that you’ll be introduced to a new pool of talent. You will grow and learn and ultimately compete with the best- check out Olympic gold rowing medallists Andy Hodge or Sophie Hosking for inspiration!
Future prospects: Now let’s get to the more serious stuff. Not only are your chances of networking increased, for example law societies are sponsored by the best Magic Circle firms around, but future employers love to see evidence of extra-curricular. Proving you can balance that 2:1 alongside regular society meetings and events is always a winner. Furthermore, this stands out when writing job applications. Unfortunately “I often look after my little brother and sister” won’t make the “show evidence of responsibility” cut. But, surprise surprise, society membership will. Even better, join the committee of a society to really wow. But remember: this will take up a lot of your time, you must be committed and prepared to give 100%. If you can hack it, it’s certainly worth the time investment.
Develop as a person: Joining a society, and meeting yet another bunch of strangers, undoubtedly does wonders for your self-confidence. At the end of the day, you have nothing to lose, so don’t be afraid to become an integral member, take part in debates, contribute to meetings, help out behind the scenes and your interpersonal skills will soar.
Your university time is only a few years long, but in this time you can truly make an impact on your own life and the lives of others. Making friends, trying out new things and impressing potential employers can all be done under one roof, so make the most of your university student union and the most out of your university experience!
How To Make The Most Out Of University- The Society Way was written by a Tavistock Tutor and LSE student