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.
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?