Societies: all or nothing?

Kayaking, Italian, Amnesty International, York Anti-Trafficking Student Group, Christian Union, York Model United Nations…..

Woah woah woah! Slow down! There’s too much to choose from.

You can get involved in loads of societies in your first year. I certainly did, and why not? Uni is a unique environment where you can try many different things and get involved in areas that you never knew existed. Why not take those opportunities? Just be careful you don’t take on too much!

I am now in my second year and have managed to balance societies, work, uni work, assignments, social life and relationships, keeping up with friends and family from home, sleep… OK, that’s a lie, but we’re getting there. It is much better now than it was in first year. Many people, including myself have the tendency to jump into everything that uni has to offer and attempt to commit to many different activities. At one point in first year I had a different society or group 5 days a week. That is when you know you’re probably doing too much. Here are my experiences with a few of the groups I stuck with.

York’s Amnesty International – At York this group is an incredible advocate for Human Rights. They run regular campaigns and events around Campus and in town ranging from AmnesTEAs to gigs to petition signings. They made it very easy to get involved in first year and encouraged me to be an active citizen in my community and on a global level.

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University of York’s Christian Union – My faith is very important to me and I wanted to be able to meet and connect with like-minded people on campus. The CU facilitated this very well. They helped me get stuck into a church and meet people who I can have deeper chats with. Don’t leave York without picking up one or two free toasties from the CU.


Photo credit: James Aston Photography

York Anti-Trafficking Student Group (YATS) – My personal favourite. This is a group of students at the University who are all passionate about seeing an end to Modern Day Slavery. I went to a discussion event in first year where they showed part of a documentary about sex trafficking in South East Asia. This sparked a passion in me. I could not sit back in the face of injustice. I had to do something. I soon became their events co-ordinator, then secretary, and I’m now Chair. This group helped me to find out what I’m passionate about. We run a fortnightly Abolition group as well as regular campaigns and events. They inspired me to take a trip to Thailand to work with Thrive Rescue– an Anti-Trafficking organisation. I’ll get to meet some incredible people and spend time in this beautiful country. I can see this becoming a career path for me now and YATS has helped to facilitate this.


Not for you? Not to worry York has so much to offer. Whether it’s sport, drama, chess, Pokemon, Chinese or baking, we’ve got it and then some.

Be warned… You do have a degree. Sometimes it is easy to forget about all the reading and assignments when you have so many other bits and pieces to also get on with (you know, the really fun stuff like room booking and health and safety forms). Sometimes it can get to be too much. I’d encourage you to look at your week and plan day-by-day to see how much time you actually have. If you’re aiming for a first, it may not be a good idea to be on the committee for 2 societies and have 4 jobs. Not that I ever did that…

It is vital to take time for yourself. Your degree and health and well-being come first! Why not take walk in the great Yorkshire countryside with some pals? 2017-02-23 (3)

Enjoy societies in moderation! They are fun but so is sleep 😉

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Hi! I'm Rachel. I am a second year Psychology in Education student and a member of Goodricke College. I am Secretary of York Anti-Trafficking Student Group and College Representative for Christian Union. Also a lover of all things containing coffee or chocolate!!