August 31, 2017, by Chloe

Getting involved: How to pick societies

One of the best things about university is the chance to try something new. Nottingham has hundreds of societies, sports clubs and volunteering opportunities for you to experience. There’s so much choice though, it can be hard to know where to start. So here’s my top tips to help you find something you’ll enjoy!

Previous Interests

Maybe at college you were on the rowing team or you’re an avid reader. In this case, finding the society for you is easy – just look for the closest match! Don’t worry if you haven’t taken part in an activity for a few years, as in most cases there’s different levels to participate at (e.g. Engage sports/ IMS). Don’t be surprised though if you don’t enjoy your previous hobbies as much once you’ve tried something else though – interests can change throughout your life.

Plus, not everyone comes to university having tried lots of sports etc before, which is where my next tip comes in…

Welcome Fair

Go to all the fairs around campus  in a group, maybe with course mates or flatmates. It’s a great excuse to spend time in the day with them, it makes approaching societies easier and you may see stalls you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. You can always go back later if you have more questions/miss something.

Another fun idea is to try out a society with your new friends. For example, the week after freshers my flatmate and I tried a Pole Dance taster session. Whilst it wasn’t for us (we’re definitely not flexible enough) it was a great laugh and we had a chance to explore more of the city. You can either go for an activity one of you has done before, to demonstrate it to the other person or you can both pick something you are new to and try it together.


There is a quote I love along the lines of ‘Pick three hobbies: one to make you money, one to keep you fit and one for creativity’. When searching for new activities to try it can be a bit overwhelming, but putting them into categories can help. A fitness hobby is great to keep fit and can be stress relief. Volunteering can make you feel good about yourself and allow you to contribute to the community. Money making isn’t really a key attribute of a society, but mental stimulation and creativity can be.

With this advice in mind, these are the societies I want to try out this year:

  • Flair Soc – I love the artistry that comes with cocktail making, so this could be my new creative hobby.
  • Yoga – after trying several sporty activities last year, I’ve come to the conclusion that gentler exercise may be more of my forte.
  • Volunteering – I’m already going to be involved with Night Owls, Student Minds, History volunteering and a Welcome Mentor, so I think I’ll leave it at that for now so I don’t overwhelm myself!

It’s okay to try new activities and decide they’re not for you – it wasn’t until February that I found some I really enjoyed. Don’t forget you can join at any point in the year/degree – societies aren’t just for freshers week!

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