Although very cliché, finding ‘your people’ is probably one of the most important things at uni. This can be through your college, your course, a society or club; it’s the only time in your life when all of these opportunities are handed to you on a plate. I really believe that grabbing these with both hands and getting involved has really enriched my experience. Embracing the chaotic busyness of my first year led me to discover new things as well as an incredible set of people.
Whether you want to find people to go out with or to play board games with, it’s worth getting involved – and it doesn’t matter when you do it. I know some people who didn’t get involved in societies at Freshers’ and then regretted it, but felt like it was too late to do so. Let me tell you; this is not true. Clubs and societies are always happy to welcome new members, even two weeks before the end of the year.
Fencing with friends
I personally found ‘my people’ at the Fencing Club. I still remember nervously showing up to the first session after being lured in by the target at the Freshers’ Fair which brought back everything that I loved about the sport. Although I hadn’t planned on continuing fencing before coming to uni, here I am two years later, running the club.
As cheesy as it sounds, it really is like a big family. We’re all different characters and personalities, brought together by the passion of the sport. And although we take training seriously, we are very relaxed and there is always time for a bit of mischief.
The many hours spent in D-Bar after training have been some of the most memorable parts of my uni experience. Socialising with the club was a great way of getting to know people outside of just fencing. Being part of a society is not just about the activity. It’s about making friendships, and is a great excuse to get out of your room and socialise.
Sports clubs are a great place to start if you have experience in the sport, or have always wanted to try but never had the opportunity. If you have dreamed of swinging a sword like your in Pirates of the Carribbean, skydiving, or trying out Canoe Polo – this is your chance!
Roses are white!
The highlight of the sporting calendar, Roses, is the yearly Varsity event versus Lancaster (#rosesarewhite by the way). I have been lucky enough to do two and it really is the most exciting time of the year! In the build-up, excitement is palpable around campus from all the competing sports and societies, as training intensifies and we are all consumed with beating Lancaster.
I’ve had some incredible experiences during my time at Fencing Club. I have travelled across the North of England competing in BUCS (British University and College Sports), and tried new weapons. I’ve also challenged myself to be the best that I can be – both within the sport and as an individual. I am now President, which is not something that I expected when I started university. Uni sports are a great way of getting involved and make a great addition to your CV. An added bonus is that it’s also great for physical and mental health!
Although we are all here to get degrees, finding ‘your people’ and taking every opportunity you get really does make the experience so much better. It’s also good to get a break from studying and give yourself time to do something you enjoy. It is very important to manage a healthy work-life balance.
To conclude, my advice to anyone starting or who has already started their degree: engage with all hat the University has to offer!
Take the plunge. You’ll regret it if you don’t.