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How did societies impact your university experience?

university societies

From live-action role-play, to competitive eating, you can try all sorts of new things through university societies. Here we look at the benefits of getting involved – whether it’s making friends, or learning transferable CV-boosting skills.

Universities have always been more than a place to study. Unions, clubs and societies offer a range of extracurricular activities which can enhance your university experience. Whether you’re looking to try something new and make some friends, or get some vital experience related to your career goals, taking on some kind of extracurricular activity is an integral part of being a student.

When I was at university, I became involved in my student union’s publications committee. While there I wrote for, and went on to help edit our union’s magazine. Through this, I gained invaluable experience and skills which have served me well in various areas of my life, from finding a job, to successfully being able to win a debate with my friends in the pub.

The chickpea club

I also helped start a houmous appreciation society with my flatmates in my second year. If you don’t turn into a vegan-houmous-loving-pseudo-hippy at some point in your university career, you’re not doing it right.

The houmous society benefitted me (and my waistline) considerably less in the long run than did my three years with the publications committee. It was a lot of fun though, and university would have been a far more stressful experience had it not punctuated by a few silly extracurricular activities.

I’m confident, though, that had I not got involved with student journalism, I would not be sitting here writing this, as I would have never learned that I wanted to work in media and communications. My extracurricular activities were both a way to blow off some steam after a library-intensive week, and a means of equipping myself for life after graduation.

Are you, or were you, involved in any university clubs or societies?

No, there are/were none for me (43%, 118 Votes)

Yes, just for fun though (36%, 99 Votes)

No, I concentrated on my studies (15%, 41 Votes)

Yes, to boost my CV (7%, 18 Votes)

Total Voters: 276

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School of Rock

Paul Ellett, from Which? University, also reflects on his experiences with his university’s rock and metal society:

‘For a brief time, I helped run our uni’s Rock and Metal society. The first social I organised didn’t quite go to plan: we only had four attendees (although it was during January deadlines). However, using social media to promote the group and its activities came in handy when applying to digital marketing internships after graduating. Showing application of key skills and knowledge in an extracurricular interest is useful, and can stand out on top of formal work experience.’

Universities are brimming with weird and wonderful clubs and societies – Freshers’ Fairs are the perfect opportunity for new students to grab loads of freebies and sign up to different student bodies, clubs, and societies.

Be sure to keep an eye out for our 2017 Student Survey results, to see how universities across the country fare when it comes to extracurriculars. The detail in our 2016’s Student Survey will tide you over til then.

What clubs or societies are you, or were you a member of? What skills or experiences did you gain through joining them? What would you recommend to new students starting university this autumn?

Comments
Guest
Norman Fee says:
12 September 2017

I Belong to a society at the University of Southampton called Quizsoc and I met some of the members at a local pub quiz and they invited me to join them for a modest yearly fair as they believe in diversification and encourage participation with the local community which at my senior years has brought me a whole new group of friends who are not worried about my age but that I can still contribute ,
and it is partly because of this that I am looking to be a trustee for the students union which I would not have thought of if they had not come into my life

Guest

I went to Solent… Shouldn’t we be fighting or something?

Guest

Norman – what a great story! Really great that the society members reached out to you, and that it’s spurred you on to take up a governance role.

It would be great to see more retirees and other non-student adults getting involved in student societies, as they can bring a bit of professsionalism and organisation and gain a lot in return. As far as I know, all students’ unions allow affiliate membership of this kind.

Guest

Though I wasn’t a member of any clubs or societies in the truest sense of the word, I did contribute a lot the university magazine including a Valentine’s Day feature that I still, to this day, haven’t lived down.

It was great though. Meant I got to review some amazing gigs (Klaxons and Maccabees in a tiny 150 capacity venue were particular highlights) and even get in the photography pit for one of them (The Futureheads if you were wondering).

All this set me up for an internship at The Quietus on leaving uni where I wrote for that website as well as Drowned in Sound, Thrash Hits and The Lipster (now sadly defunct), which led me to where I am now.

I was also the year three student rep for our course, going back to the lecturers with any issues the student body had with the programme, namely the teaching of QuakXpress when InDeisgn was an actual thing at the time. *Rolls eyes*

I highly recommend getting as stuck in as possible with any society you’re interested in. You never know where anything you learn there will take you.

Guest

I support what Dean says about the value of being a student rep. Providing constructive feedback to lecturers and represent fellow students can be daunting to start with but having been the main point of contact for a large department, I know how rewarding some student reps found their experience. From the lecturers’ point of view, it is very useful to know that problems exist.

I regret not having become involved with student societies when I was at university.

Guest

It definitely gave me a degree of confidence I wouldn’t otherwise have taken away from my time at uni. It was made easier by the fact that I was extremely passionate about that one thing I had a hang up about.

Guest

I was involved in all sorts, including the rifle club, co-editing the student paper for London, debating, politics and satirical writing for print and shows. My involvement in these was the best thing I took from university, setting me up with all kinds of skills I might never have developed otherwise.