Being a Member of PMers

At Lancaster University I am spoilt for choice over which societies to join and dedicate time to – From the baking society to the Disney society to the Economics society, there is literally something for everyone to get involved in!

However, with over 200 societies available to join it can be easy to miss a society at the Freshers Fair. So, this brings me on to share with you a society that I joined in my second year – The Project Management Society (also known as PMers).

To be honest, I had heard about the society in my first year. However I had felt naive to join because I thought the society was just for Project Management students. – But how I was wrong!

I rediscovered the society during my second year when one of my friends, a Marketing student, shared with me her experience of being a member of the society. My friend told me how the Project Management Society provided her the opportunity to manage a project from start to end and learn about the different stages involved.

From this, the Project Management Society stood out to me because it sounded exciting to be able to get involved with supporting campus activities and events that I had attended during my first year. Not only that, but as a Business Studies student who does not study a Project Management module, I felt that getting involved with live projects would be a chance to learn more about executing projects and also allow me to apply and share the skills and knowledge I had gained from my course.

So, as a member of other societies too, I decided to join the society as a project team member, rather than a project manager. As a project team member, the role allowed me to volunteer and help with the elements involved with the projects being run throughout the year. Which, as I learnt, enabled me to take on roles including photography, ticket selling, and event set-up.

Two of my highlights from being a member for the past two years are getting involved with the Japanese Koinobori Festival 2017 and the Korean Festival 2018. At the Japanese Festival I supported the event, which celebrated Japanese culture, by being an event photographer and at the Korean Festival I collected tickets and served Korean food. I really enjoyed volunteering at these events and it felt rewarding to know that I had been able to support the success of the events.

As it comes to the end of my final year, I am glad that I discovered the Project Management Society and I believe it has provided me with a platform to develop and learn new skills, whilst also meeting and making many new friends. I feel that as a project team member I have been able to learn more about the process involved with launching projects. In addition, I have been able to recognise and appreciate how all of the different roles collectively contribute to creating a successful project.

From being a member, along with creating memories, I will take away the skills I have developed. I feel I have strengthened my team working skills, the ability to communicate to large audiences and developed confidence working at large events.

4 key tips when starting University

Starting university is certainly a very exciting time for a whole load of different reasons. Moving away from home, meeting new people, and studying something you enjoy are just some of the reasons why so many simply cannot wait to pack their bags, and commence what people often regard as the best years of their life. There is no doubting that university is a brilliant experience, but this is not to say it doesn’t come with its challenges. Here are 4 things to keep in mind right from the off at Lancaster University.

  1. Go to Fresher’s Fair

Often missed by many due to other Fresher’s Week traditions, the Fresher’s Fair is an absolute must during your first week at university. The event provides a great opportunity for you to find out about the abundance of things that Lancaster University offers. In particular, it will give you the chance to meet over 200 different clubs and societies. From Baking to Belly Dancing, you really are spoilt for choice and are bound to find something for you. Even if you have no interest of joining any societies, just go along for the freebies, and you may even pick up a pasty or two.

  1. Take a good look round

Lancaster University’s campus may not be the biggest, but you wouldn’t say it’s small either, and getting to know your way round will probably take you a bit of time. However, Fresher’s Week will give you a good opportunity to take a walk around the campus and learn where everything is located a bit better. I recommend you put aside some time in your first week to do this since campus is usually relatively quiet in this period, and before you know it, you will find yourself having to navigate to your first lecture in a busy environment. Make sure you pay a visit to where your academic subject is located and know where you can get your groceries. Also, look out for campus tours running during Fresher’s Week. These will save you from using a map to navigate around the university.

  1. Stay on top of your work

I understand there is a strong temptation when starting university to ease yourself in and start off slow. After all, you’ve just arrived, and you want to have a bit of fun, right? I would recommend easing yourself in as you will be in a new environment and things will be different. But make sure you don’t fall into the trap of not doing any work for the first month. I don’t want to speak like I am your parents here, but it is important you go to your lectures, and do the work which is required of you. Lancaster University is not a top ten institution for nothing, students are expected to work hard. Of course, a lot of university is about enjoying yourself and having a good time but remember to not forget the main reason you have come to university!

  1. Don’t leave coursework until the last minute

And here we are, the piece of advice we’ve all heard so many times before. Whoever tells us though, and despite how many times they do, students have an inherent tendency to not start their coursework until the night before and submit the all-important piece of work thirty seconds before the deadline. There are a couple of reasons why I’d opt against this. Firstly, there is a strong chance that your first piece of coursework will involve you having to do some kind of referencing. Now, unless I am the only exception, it takes students some time to get their head around the different components of referencing, and what format the University expects. This in itself is a reason to start your coursework early, as the last thing you want is having to figure out how to reference at 4am, as the deadline quickly approaches. The second reason is that depending on your degree, you are likely to have a few different pieces to submit at around the same time. Leaving them all to the last few days could just be too much to handle.

What to do in your spare time

Whilst University is a great place to come and study something that you enjoy and learn more about it, you will probably realise very quickly that you end up with a lot of free time when you are not in lectures or other classes. This was something that I became very aware of within my first few weeks at University.

This is where societies can come in. Before coming to university, I was not a very sociable, outgoing person. At college I had a small group of friends who all had the same interests, so we generally tended to do the same activities during our spare time (which usually revolved around watching our favourite TV shows). But after coming to Lancaster I felt that it would be time for a change. I decided that the best way to make new friends was to actively go out and make them.

Freshers Fair was the perfect opportunity to do this. With nearly all societies that Lancaster has, setting up a stall to show what they had to offer, I knew that I was bound to find something that I would enjoy.  Now I have to admit, that when I found out that the University had a Doctor Who and a Harry Potter Society my inner nerd nearly went into overdrive.  Of course I was going to sign up for them.

Now admittedly there were some societies that I only went to a couple of times before deciding that I did not like them. Not that there was anything wrong with the society per se, it just was not what I personally wanted from it. The great thing about the societies though is that a large majority of them also have stalls a Re-Freshers fair which is held in January.

It was at Re-freshers fair that I found some more societies which I am still a part of to this day. I signed up for Dodgeball, thinking it would be good to try out something that I had never done before.  Even though I’m terrible at it I still really enjoy taking part, and some of the best friends that I have at University, I made through Dodgeball. Not only that, but in March of 2016 I got the opportunity to run for a position on the executive committee- and I’m so glad that I did. Whilst its obviously something great to put on my CV, it also makes me really happy to be a part of the ‘behind the scenes crew’ of the society. It feels great to have a say in how the society is run, what socials we will be putting on, as well as being able to further increase the reach of the society. Plus, it’s really great that I’ve had the chance to compete against other teams in the North of England through the society.

Fast forward to the start of 2nd year and once again I attended freshers fair- although this time it was slightly different. Given that I was on the executive committee of Dodgeball, I was helping out manning the stall for this. But that did not stop me from trying to join other societies too. One of my new flatmates was part of the Korfball society. Having never heard of it (short version is that its a cross between netball and basketball), I thought that it would be worth checking out. Once again, it was one of the best choices I made. Not only have I made even more amazing friends, but I’ve played in a few tournaments, and even have my own personalised kit top, which is great to keep as a memento of my time there.

I also decided to join the running club, although unfortunately I was not able to get too involved in that during first term of second year as I had lectures and other societies that clashed. However, I am planning on getting more involved now that my timetable has freed up a lot.

It’s amazing to consider how much I have gained from joining all these societies; I’ve made countless new friends, and not to mention become 10x more active than I was 3 years ago, which is obviously a good thing.

Who knows if I’ll join any more societies in third year, but at least I can safely say that I’ve made the most out of my time at University.