I am the biggest believer in productivity and snapping up every opportunity that comes my way. In my first year I said yes to so many things and I’ve made incredible friends and wonderful memories from doing so. However, you’re also starting a new course, learning how to look after yourself, meeting new people and challenges every day. It’s not easy to say yes to more things on top of a new lifestyle! So, I’ve put together some top tips that will help you to find those things you love and discover others you had no idea about!
This tip you can do before you’ve even arrived in York! Have a look at York University Student Union (YUSU);s website and browse through the “Opportunities” tab at the top. On here, you’ll find all the ways you can get involved with societies, volunteering projects and college/university sport. There are over 170 different societies to get involved with! There are so many that you could be a dancing bell-ringer who’s learning French with the French Society and pondering the meaning of life at your Philosophy meetings. Or, you could be a Wine Appreciator who writes for York Vision, avidly plays Pokémon and is learning about Lithuanian culture with the Lithuanian Society. Each society or group (including sports groups) will have a ‘contact’ section so you can email the captain or chair and ask any questions. This is a great way to work out what you might be interested in before even getting here!
Go to Freshers’ Fair! All the sports teams, volunteering groups, careers opportunities, societies and so much more will be there. This happens at the end of Freshers Week, and there’ll be hundreds of opportunities ready to be snapped up. This gives you a chance to look around, ask questions face to face and if you’re interested, sign up for emails or be added to Facebook groups. Then, you’ll be sent the latest news so you know when the football trials are and whether that’ll clash with your Swing Dance Society meet-and-greet. I went with four of my flat mates and we all walked round together collecting freebies and signing up to clubs. The atmosphere is ridiculously friendly as well, you can’t go wrong!
Get involved with your college. Every college has a student college committee who help run and organise everything that goes on. They hold events, talks, socials and so much more right on your doorstep. Getting involved with your college committee or going to the events they organise couldn’t be easier in first year because you live right next door! In Goodricke, we have food events every week with free bacon, sausages and baked potatoes. We also have baking events, film nights, yoga sessions and arts and crafts. It’s so easy to find a new hobby and you get to meet your college team (who are the friendliest people you’ll ever meet!) as well as other students who live nearby to you. College activities are the easiest to get involved with!
Look to your department for ideas. Each department offers talks, events and trips to help you make the most of your course outside the lecture theatre! The Language and Linguistics department invite lecturers to come and talk to us about new and upcoming research, as well as working with Careers to get you thinking about internships, work experience and apprenticeships. It’s so lovely having a large department of people who all work together to get the best opportunities to you; all you have to do is say yes! I work with a few of my lecturers on a Back-To-School project through the department. We go to secondary schools and colleges and talk about the course, the university, campus life and what York as a city has to offer. It’s so nice to give something back and talk to people who are in the same situation I was in only two years ago.
Finally, with all these things going on, make sure you have some you time. It’s exciting and fun to meet new people, do new things and go to new places every day, but self-care is crucial. Have a long shower, a nice big cup of tea and a bar of your favourite chocolate every now and again. University life is full of opportunities and incredible moments and friends, but you need to put yourself first and have plenty of time for yourself.
I hope this all helps! Don’t hesitate to comment or message me if you want to find out more about the things I’m involved in.