Especially at the start of the academic year, there is a big push from university societies to get new members. Campus is buzzing with freshers fairs, and social media is flooded with posts encouraging you to join societies for almost any hobby you can think of. It is easy to assume that these are all aimed at the new first year cohort of students. In reality, there’s no wrong time to join a new university society. So, if you are reading this in your second, third, or any year, here are the reasons you should do exactly that.
Try something new
University is a place where all kinds of opportunities can spring from. It is the perfect time to try a new sport or skill even if you have never done it before. Your social calendar is more flexible and the facilities and talent stemming from thousands of students and staff is endless. Moving through university your interests can develop and change. Therefore, while in first year you might have been more focused on finding your feet with your course, now you might have heard of a club that sparks your interest. As societies welcome all ages and abilities, there will definitely be a spot for you if you want to spice up your university experience. Even if you find that trampolining, theatre, or baking are not for you, there is no harm is giving it a go.
Pick up an old hobby
Is there a small part of you that wished you never stopped playing football? Or maybe you fell out of love with playing an instrument? Continuing a hobby or getting back into an old one is easily done. Particularly if, since starting university, you have grown in confidence to join societies that might have seemed overwhelming at first, this could be your opportunity. Like-minded people can help you enjoy what you used to and being part of a welcoming group means that time is dedicated to your hobbies each week. Balancing social life with academic work is important. Let your younger self loose!
Not all of the time spent with a society is dedicated to their main activity. Most societies will have a social secretary, whose job is to organise regular social events. These can include nights out, meals, trips within the UK and abroad, seeing plays/shows/concerts, or anything that might interest a group of students. Doing things in a large group with a pool of ideas often means getting the opportunity to do something you would not normally, or activities at a cheaper price. It could be something as simple as having a laugh or a film night. But socials are not to be missed.
Struggling to make friends at university is not at all uncommon. Even if you did not struggle to make friends in earlier years, societies are some of the best places to bond with your peers. From my own experience, joining my student newspaper society was the best decision I could have made at university. I now have some truly amazing friends that I would not have met otherwise, and often wish I had joined the society earlier than my second year. Starting a conversation with new people is so much easier if you already have an established common interest or are trying something new. Who knows, you might meet some of your closest friends.
If none of the societies available at your university seem the right fit for you, it is also possible to set up your own. The criteria for this is different for each university. But it is definitely possible with a small group interested in your idea. Overall, no matter your age, ability, or time left at university, joining a society is never off the cards. Try the free taster sessions, go to the freshers fairs, and message the social media accounts for information. This is your sign to not let being passed first year put you off. What are you waiting for?