Student societies are probably one of my favourite things at university. I think it plays an important role in one’s university experience, and you definitely should get involved. With over 200 different societies at York, you are sure to find something that you enjoy. From famous sports such as netball or football to something as specific as hummus making or even fetishism, there’s a group for everything and everyone.
Why get involved?
A bit obvious, but societies are one of the places to meet other students and make friends. I met some of my closest friends through the different sports teams I joined. For me, who thrives by being with other people, I really enjoy student sports and societies, and I think the social aspect of them is my favourite part. Sometimes, I go to events just to spend time with the people there. Being part of a sport gives you a feeling of belonging to a group, and to have people who you can go to for support. Additionally, it’s a double-win situation. Imagine doing something you like… with people you like!
However, if you’re not too fond of social interactions, it’s not a problem. You can be a casual member and go to events when you want without needing to force yourself to talk too much to others. At the end of the day, it’s all about what makes you feel comfortable.
Stopping your worries
More importantly, society events help you take your mind off degree-related stress or personal problems. It makes you focus on something completely different for a few hours. If I had a bad day and all I want to do is to crawl in bed and eat cookies, I still drag myself to my futsal or volleyball training session because I know that I always feel better after doing sports. This goes for anything that makes you happy, not just sports in particular.
Don’t be afraid to try things out
I remember going to the Harry Potter society after Freshers’ Week because, guess what, I like Harry Potter. However, apart from the overall story and the important facts, I didn’t know much more. I was surrounded by people who knew the date of the first Quidditch World Cup and all the ingredients needed to create a Veritaserum. Needless to say that I was feeling a bit clueless for the whole event, so after that session, I’ve never been to the Harry Potter society again.
In my second year, one of my very good friends dragged me to a James College volleyball training session. I kept going every week because he was the captain and I just wanted to see him, but with time, I started to really get into volleyball. Fast-forward to my fourth year and I have now integrated the University of York Women’s volleyball team. This would’ve never happened if my friend didn’t convince me to come this one time in my second year, and I am very thankful that he did.
Go with the flow and do what you like
In my first year, I joined University Women’s football, University Women’s futsal, and the Ethics and Environment Network.
In my second year, I quit University Women’s football and joined James College Women’s football, as well as James College volleyball.
In my third year, I quit James College Women’s football and joined the Athletics and Running Club.
Now, in my fourth year, I am not part of the Athletics and Running Club any more, but I have joined NightSafe (a volunteering group) and the Women’s volleyball team. I changed societies a lot of times, but I absolutely don’t regret it because I was following what I wanted to do and what was making me happy (or not) at that time. It’s important to listen to yourself, and it’s perfectly fine to quit and start something new because the moment something you really enjoy doing is becoming a source of frustration, boredom, and burdening, you just have to let it drop.