February 21, 2019, by Issy
Joining Societies at Uni
Joining a uni society was hands down one of the best decisions I have made so far into my 2ndyear. I was not a member of any in my 1styear, which meant my social circles were somewhat limited to people in my halls and on my course. I don’t think that this had the best impact on my mental health either: I felt like I didn’t really have anywhere where I could fully express who I was as a person, and by not keeping up the hobbies and interests I had at home, the jump into uni life was even bigger. However, by finally cutting my losses and joining a society, in my case, UoN Sailing club, I have met some of my closest friends at uni, from 1st-5thyear – and even graduates!
Societies are often tight knit groups, which means that you will spend a lot of time together, and get to know and learn to love people and their huge range of personalities really quickly – this was certainly the case for me! (Also, we sort of HAVE to get along at sailing, we are stuck in a boat together surrounded by water for extended periods of time… unless you fancy literally jumping ship!) You will also find that you naturally want to support each other through thick and thin, which has been lovely especially when I have been struggling at times, people will always be there for you to pick you up, however they can.
Socials can be weird and wonderful – from impromptu spa days, to themed parties, to the week-long ‘Yachtingham’ trip that the sailing club goes on in summer each year after exams. They don’t all have to involve drinking! Societies have at least one ‘social sec’ on their committees, whose role it is to organise a wide range of socials that everyone can take part in: one week, people may go out to Crisis, and the next, go and see a film at the Savoy – this in itself really opens up the inclusivity of societies – as well as some sports running ‘Engage’ sessions, or non-sport societies having a ‘just turn up’ policy or ‘Try it’ sessions. Some of the universities best sportsmen and women may not have even tried their sport before trying it at Nottingham!
It may feel daunting to try something new, especially when it feels like everyone else knows each other and you stick out like a sore thumb, but trust me, this isn’t the case. I took a whole year to build up the courage to step out of my comfort zone and join a society, and looking back, I SO wish I had done it in 1styear so I could spend even more time with these wonderful people, who accept me for who I am and made me feel so welcome. Nottingham has about 300 societies with students constantly forming new ones – there’s something for everyone!
I thought I would share some useful links about things I mentioned:
UoN societies https://www.su.nottingham.ac.uk/societies/find-a-society/
UoN sports clubs https://www.su.nottingham.ac.uk/sports/a-z/
Activity matchmaker: http://www.uonsu-activities.co.uk
UoN Engage: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/sport/engage/index.aspx