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.