Going to university is all about trying something new, you go to a new place, meet new people… there’s no better opportunity to reinvent yourself, make some resolutions you might actually keep.
Societies at uni are all about the effort you put in. If you don’t take part, no one is going to come after you, in fact no one will even care. You join a mailing list, you turn up to events that interest you and hopefully along the way you’ll meet some nice people you’ll come to call friends, and if not maybe at least you had a good time. If you don’t bother to turn up, don’t make the effort to participate, then liking their Facebook page and being on their mailing list seriously doesn’t count.
It was hard at first deciding which societies I wanted to join (more like make an effort for). I fluctuated between wanting to do absolutely everything, to pessimistically thinking nothing would fit into my hectic study schedule. At times, I’d think I wanted to pursue more sports, other times my inner thespian would prevail. Thats the thing with having options, they tend to be a bit overwhelming.
In my first 2 months of uni, I competed in a Taekwondo competition, did the lighting for a show and managed to make a tennis team. I wanted to do so much more, like make a short film, join the acapella society, go to the gym everyday… but you know what I’ll take what I’ve got so far. Did I mention that trying out for the tennis team was the scariest thing I did in freshers week. I was away from the normal environment where I play tennis, where I knew exactly where I stood and how good I was compared to others. Suddenly, I had to perform and prove myself . All that worry and I’ve played tennis since I was 3. Imagine the anxiety of joining a society for something I’d never tried before. Being a beginner may be freeing but its still terrifying, intimidating and seriously off-putting at times. I even pretended to be a beginner at Taekwondo for a whole 3 weeks, just so I could gauge the standard first. Trust me I get it. Plus, I considered trying to get into basketball, but the thought of being a terrible noob amidst seasoned ballers … kept me away (confession: I’m not proud of this, but what happened, happened).
The best thing about societies is that you can turn up for an event with a society for the first time, and sure you’ll probably know no one there, but no one will really care. No one will think you don’t belong because they all did it too at some point, been the new kid. If you make the effort and keep turning up, strange faces will become familiar and familiar will become friendly.
Sure they say society helps you make friends outside your course and your hall, but I think the most important part is that it lets us explore our interests in a completely free environment. You just have to be brave enough to step up. Screw everyone else, try something new, it’ll be worth it. (disclaimer: if it isn’t, at least you can say you lived a little right?)