Societies play a huge part of university life here at York. They’re central to the student-organised activities at university and provide the best way of finding other people that are interested in the same things as you. Not only are they a whole lot of fun, but they can give you experience that might come in handy and even determine your decision when picking a career after graduation.
The chances are, as a first year, you’ll sign up to a ridiculous number of societies at the Freshers’ Fair (a kind of marketplace that takes place on campus during Freshers’ Week where societies have stalls to talk about what they do). The biggest problem is that you’ll want to join so many, but even if you don’t join a particular society at the Freshers’ Fair, you can still join as a member during term time. I remember when I accidentally stepped into a University Radio York (URY) meeting and decided to stick around…now I have my own show on air.
I joined several papers, including The Yorker who gave me free cinema tickets to go and review films – not a bad deal! Like most things at university, there’s a social aspect to it, which makes university the perfect time to try anything you might even have a small interest in with the added benefit of meet like minded people too. At York, we have 181 student societies and 12 volunteering projects (as of Jan 2016) – there’s no shortage of choice, not to mention the huge number of active sports clubs which are cheap, welcoming and always encourage people of any ability to give it a go.
I was also lucky to get a job at the University Careers Service, a building on campus dedicated to giving you all the information and help you’ll need about future prospects.Each subject has its own careers section, where you’ll hear about events and other opportunities such as internships, talks and the like. The Philosophy section, as well as the main careers department highlights different sectors that might be of interest, pinpointing the main skills associated with the degree so you can work towards building up that all important CV. Expect to see everything from ethics advisory to journalism in the philosophy area, you’ll be surprised at just how much you can get out of studying Plato. For those of you who are, like I was, coming to university with no idea of what they want to do next weekend let alone after 3 years of study, this section is the perfect starting point to exploring the options that might be worth pursuing after you graduate.
Although the prospect of thinking about life after university can be daunting and seemingly unnecessary when there’s already so much happening, the careers service for Philosophy does a great job of helping out without getting in the way of things. I had a big interest in journalism coming to uni. The careers service not only pointed me in the right direction of websites, companies and opportunities worth looking at; but they also told me to join the societies that would help boost my CV, and be an enjoyable hobby to go alongside my degree.
This is the thing with York life, anything that you want to do can be fulfilled. I’d never been in a proper radio studio, or had an article in print before, but by the end of my first term I had done both. Not only has it been a great time, but I’ve also made some good friends and got experience of things that could hopefully end up being a potential career option.