There aren’t many universities with societies as diverse as those of York. From our Disney Society to our Louis Theroux Society (yes, seriously this does exist); York caters to all tastes. However, I am not here to write about the Louis Theroux society.
Instead, I want to take this chance to write about my own experiences with societies at York.
Most societies that I have tried to be a part of have been related to sports. Experiences and longevity have been varied in each sport. Four years of athletics, one year of college football, two hours of handball, and about 20 minutes of swimming, before I got so tired that I nearly sank!
I’m probably, therefore, not the best person to write about swimming. I can, however, tell you why the University’s Athletics and Running Club has been so important to me and my development.
The Athletics and Running Club at York is one of the University’s largest societies, predominantly because it is so welcoming. Although I always did sports through school, we welcome so many first timers and cater to all abilities.
This isn’t an advert for the Athletics Club, although I do recommend joining because it is the best society in York in my humble opinion! I want to offer you one thing I wish I knew before joining societies, and the three best things from being involved in sport at York.
You don’t need to commit beyond the first session
I was apprehensive to join new clubs because I wasn’t sure if I could commit to every single training session for the entire year. This is why we have taster sessions for the first week at uni, when you’re allowed to try out societies for free with no commitment.
I can tell you, as a committee member, we want you to come along and try. We hope you love it, but if not, it’s no sweat!
Make mates for life
Without a doubt, friends are the best thing to come out of Athletics Club. By joining any society, you’ll meet people who come from so many different backgrounds. You’ll be lucky to share memories from training, competitions and socials.
If you had told me at 18 I would be jumping around a trampoline park with teammates as a day out when I should have been working on my dissertation, I would have laughed at you. But uni is far bigger than the work you have to do. It’s about building an experience with the people around you and developing yourself as a character.
Okay, maybe trampoline parks aren’t the obvious way to do this, but I’m still off to try and perfect my backflip.
BUCS (British University and College Sport)
You might have heard of BUCS before. If you haven’t, BUCS is essentially the competition in which universities compete against each other in sport. Most sports clubs will have a BUCS match every Wednesday against another university.
Athletics is a bit unique in this sense. We only have three major BUCS competitions in the year: X-Country, Indoor Track and Field, and Outdoor Track and Field. We also take part in Roses Varsity against Lancaster University every year.
These have been some of the most memorable weekends of my life. The atmosphere is electric, the competition is incredible and you’ll develop incredible relationships with your team-mates. BUCS competitions have made me so proud to be part of this club.
Physical and mental health
Okay so this one is a little more serious, but probably the most important. Running contributes massively towards your physical health, that much is obvious. But dealing with mental health in the sport is sometimes a bit taboo.
However, the sport and the club have been crucial for my mental health. Sport allows you to reduce stress, lift self-esteem and reduces the risks of depression and anxiety. That does not, however, mean that all of us in sports clubs are immune to mental health issues.
One of the best aspects of the club is the support that is on offer. From being able to access training sessions and guest lectures on mental health in sport, to support points with YUSU, the club has always made the health of its athletes the priority.
There is always more to be done, to encourage an open and compassionate discussion of mental health in sport. But sport’s societies in York are definitely taking proactive and positive steps to address this.
Whatever your passion is, running or not; try and find a society for it at York. We always have an open door.