What is it really like being a society president?
three round white wooden tables
Photo by Drahomír Posteby-Mach on Unsplash

What is it really like being a society president?

Chelsie Henshaw January 12, 2022

It’s coming to the end of the academic year and you are contemplating whether to put yourself forward as a candidate for president for a society you’ve been involved in all year. My advice would be: Don’t run for the position unless you are prepared to have your life dominated by society politics.

The first thing you do when you open your eyes in the morning? Check your emails. The last thing you do before you go to bed? Solve the issues that have arisen during the day.

In all seriousness, being president of a society is rewarding and unforgettable. But it is a demanding and challenging one, nonetheless. And yes, I am speaking from experience. You might be on the fence about whether to run for president or another position on the committee. Maybe you find that you are more suited to a secretarial or marketing position. Or maybe you are just naturally great at leading people.

Below are the pros and cons of being the president of your favouite society at university.


You will soon make lots of new friends and likely bond with everyone else on the committee. You are all in it together, after all! I’ve met some of my closest friends this year through being Editor-in-Chief of my university paper.

You will gain invaluable experience that will look amazing on your CV. Employers are not just looking for a 2:1, but also what else you have done alongside your degree. Being president of your society is a brilliant way to show how well-rounded you are.

The role is something you will (hopefully) love. If you are part of a society you enjoy, why not get as involved as you can and be the one to keep the society going forward. Alongside the CV perks, my passion for my university newspaper is what pushed me to run for president.

You can choose what direction you want the society to go in. You have the opportunity to keep up the good work of previous committees, while also making it better.


You are going to have to make all the big decisions. At the end of the day, you are the boss! This includes the difficult decisions that may divide your committee members. If you are a people-pleaser like me, this can be hard. Disappointing people it not fun. But it is a skill you need to have to be a good leader.

It is a big commitment to take on (depending on the size of your society of course). Bigger ones, such as sports teams and newspapers, often carry a lot more responsibility and a lot of work, as opposed to smaller and more niche societies. Balancing university work alongside a part-time job or volunteering, socialising, and actually taking the time to cook meals and exercise is different enough, adding an important committee role can disrupt your already packed schedule.

Personally, my own experience has been mixed. There have been times when I have been one minor inconvenience away from quitting the role entirely. However, there have equally been times when I have made memories that I will cherish forever. Ones I would not have been able to make without my role. Although it has so far been a rollercoaster of an experience. I wouldn’t change it.

Through all the difficulties, I have proved to myself that I am capable, that I can be a leader and manage a team. So, if you think it is something you can manage alongside your studies, I recommend getting involved on a society committee; even if you don’t think the role of president is for you.

See also: The five types of student housemate

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Chelsie is an English Literature and French student in her fourth and final year at the University of Birmingham. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of Redbrick Newspaper (the official student newspaper at UoB). Her experience covers writing for a variety of sections including News, Culture, Life&Style, and Comment (she was a Comment Editor last year). She is interested in raising awareness and commenting on important issues such as classism, feminism, and ableism.