Between lectures, studying, socializing and trying to get in a few hours of sleep, uni life can be pretty busy. Being involved in societies can be a great way to meet people, but it can also be time consuming, especially if you’re trying to juggle more than one. Plus, many societies charge membership fees, and you don’t want to be out the cash if you’re not going to go to events anyway. So here are some ways to tell if a society is worth joining and if it’s for you.
Attend an open event
Most societies offer taster sessions or public events at the beginning of the year. Attending these events is a great way to get a sense of what the events and the community dynamics are like. It won’t be exactly the same, since there will likely be many other newbies like you, but it can give you a general idea without having to commit to anything.
Forget about your CV
It’s easy to want to join specific societies because you believe they will look good on your CV, but it’s important that this isn’t the only reason you join. If you join because you feel like you’re supposed to rather than because you want to, you might end up getting burned out and not having that much fun. Instead, join because you enjoy the company of the other members and the activities you do together.
See also: Quirky University Societies You Can Join
Learn about the leadership structure
How is the society organised? Who is in charge, and how do they run things? These are important things to know before you join a society. Even if you have common interests, you won’t enjoy yourself if the leadership style is at odds with what you want from your experience in a society. For example, a leadership style that is overly relaxed might mean events that are disorganised or few and for between, while a leadership style that is overly hands-on might be too intense.
Consider the commitment
Think of your societies as a commitment the same way you would with uni work or a friendship. Sure, it’s fine to miss a seminar or a coffee on occasion, but for the most part you want to show up. Find out how often your prospective society does events. Some societies might have different types of events, for example weekly nights out and a monthly film night. Determine first if you can fit these events into your schedule, and then decide if this will leave you with enough time to tend to your other commitments.