You may have noticed that the University of York describes itself as a collegiate university and, if you’ve spoken to UoY students, people often take their college (and its associated superiority over all the other colleges) very seriously! The nature of this system is that every student becomes “a member of a small, distinct community” and not just because you’re thrown into a building full of them in first-year. Each college committee organises its own events and, crucially, each college competes against the other in college-level sport.
Being a member of the ‘sporty college’ – James – the competitiveness is perhaps enhanced in my eyes for the sake of holding onto our reputation (it’s not going to happen, Derwent). College sport is perfect if you haven’t played a sport much before, or at all, and want to get involved with something new without pressure to be the best. I was first introduced to squash by my friend Anthony – the most active 80-year old I’ve ever known who I played tennis with back at home – and I only played a few times between then and uni, never having any proper training. Joining James Squash was a great chance to nail the basics and then learn some specific tactics and shots. This year, I’m co-captain of the team (along with Eden who is far more experienced) and at the moment James College is chilling at the top of the college squash league, which is a wonderful thing to see!
College sport is rewarding not just because
- it’s fun,
- it’s good exercise,
- you make some great friends –>
but also because you get the chance to qualify for varsity matches, where you can show the colleges from Durham how it’s done!
I’ve also joined James rugby this year (despite not fulfilling any of the typical dimensions of a rugby player) and the value of college sport as a chance to join small communities, to train and to play for 0 money has become even clearer.
Ways to get involved definitely do not stop at college-level of course; you probably heard that York has over 180 societies so I think you’ll probably find something you fancy joining. I was one of those people who gave my email out to pretty much every society at Fresher’s (and went back at the start of this year to any I missed) but nah no regrets: I may not have gone to an Octopush session yet but it’s nice to know that opportunity is there in case of a sudden urge. You just have to take a bit of a browse here, then a brief peruse of the sports and see what you’d like to try out.
Last year I was getting into YogaSoc and this year I’m going to a few more political things. But my friends get up to all sorts. They are part of concert and brass bands, my housemate writes in our student newspaper Nouse, I watched my friend perform in 2 very funny plays as part of the Gilbert & Sullivan Society last year, and plenty of people get into Medieval Society, play Ultimate Frisbee, or go to FragSoc all-nighters (with slushie machines and MonoRovers alongside their gaming).
(this is Amelia commandeering a MonoRover from FragSoc last year)
Another bonus to all this fun stuff is that you can get recognition for your involvement with the York Award. The perks never end!
I guess the most important thing when it comes to having fun at uni is meeting new people and just doing stuff, whether it be through societies or not.
You’ll find some great way to fill your time 🙂