University Societies: A Students Guide

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In the UK, universities can be very different from earlier forms of education, such as school or college. This is especially in terms of the level of education. However, it can also be in terms of the social aspects that you can experience at university as well.

While this may be due to the increased social aspects that can come simply due to age and increased independence at university, it can also be due to actively getting involved. One of the ways you can do this at university is by joining a university society.

Continue reading to learn more about societies at university. In this article, you will learn more about what societies are, what they involve and even what the benefits of university societies are.

What are university societies?

As mentioned above, a university society can be a great way to get more involved at university. However, not properly knowing what a university society is all about can make this pretty difficult.

To put it simply, a university society is where a group of students meet up due to a specific activity or a specific shared interest. In some ways, this can be similar to a club that you may have been a part of in school (or even outside school), but the difference is that university or student societies are run completely by students.

What specific societies a university will have will greatly vary between them as it depends on the students themselves. However, it is likely for a university to have societies (or clubs) relating to sports, culture and even their own degrees.

To learn more about university societies, check out this guide by the University of York. For more specific information, the best place to look is on a university’s website.

Should you join a university society?

Joining a society at university can be a great opportunity as it can help you really make the most of university life. This may be on an academic or social side, based on what kind of society you choose to join.

However, when it comes down to it, there can also be several reasons why joining a society may not just be for you. While this may be more about joining the right society for you, it could also simply be about everything that is involved in university societies in general.

Due to this, deciding whether to join a society at university can be a difficult decision. While I would personally recommend doing so as it can give you a fun way to meet new people and spend more time with your interests, you will need to consider the pros and cons for yourself. To do so, check out the following sections on the benefits and drawbacks of university societies.

What are the benefits of joining a society at university?

Joining a society can have a range of benefits to both your physical and mental health as well as your development, both as a person and in your career.

To begin with, joining a society at university can enable you to improve both your physical and mental health. In terms of your physical health, this is mainly in relation to an active society or club, such as sports clubs, like football, boxing or even dancing, or even volunteering societies, which can often be quite physically active.

In terms of your mental health, exercise can be great to improve your mental health, as can meetings with likeminded people talking about things you enjoy, as you can do at a society.

As you can meet people that you have shared interests with, joining a society can also help you to make friends. This is especially great for first year students as it can make it easier to connect with people as you will already have a specific shared interest that can even be a conversation starter.

Also, joining a society is a great way for you to make friends outside of your course. This is particularly because other than your flatmates, you will probably not interact with people from other courses at university as often as you could have done at school or college.

Joining a society at university can also look good on your CV. This is because it can enable you to develop both hard and soft skills.

For example, in some societies, you may develop public speaking or even debating skills, which can prove to be incredibly useful for a range of career options. Plus, you can develop your general communication and empathy skills which can enable you to adapt better to a work environment.

For more information about the benefits of societies at university, check out this guide by Loughborough University. You can also check out this guide by UCL.

What are the drawbacks of joining a society at university?

While joining a society can be great, at time it could do more harm than good. To begin with, joining a society at university can be incredibly time consuming.

This will of course depend on what type of society it is, but you may find that the society or societies you have decided to join end up taking up too much of your time. This can make it more difficult to get all the other things you need to do done.

Another problem with extracurricular activities, such as societies or clubs, being so time consuming is that they can leave you having way too much on your plate. This can lead you to feeling pretty burnt out, which can have negative effects on your mental health.

To avoid this, you will need to make sure that you are managing your time at university properly and that you don’t take on too much. Remember that you can always cut back on or stop going to societies or other extracurricular activities if it’s too much for you, or even if you simply don’t enjoy it.

For more on the drawbacks of joining a society, check out this article by College Raptor. For more tips on time management for students, check out this article by Top Universities. To learn more about burnout and how to avoid it, look at this article by Times Higher Education.

How do you join a society at university?

By becoming a student at your university, you will typically automatically become a part of your university’s student union or association. This is what allows you to be able to join any of the societies or clubs that your university offers.

In fresher’s week or in the first few weeks of term, each society will often hold a free taster session. This enables you to learn more about what the society is all about and decide if you want to join.

From what current university students have told me, you can then apply to join the society on the student union or association website, where you will have to pay the membership for the year. To learn more about all of this, check out this guide by the University of Edinburgh.

How many societies should you join at university?

As mentioned above, joining a university society can bring about both a range of benefits as well as some drawbacks that you do need to consider when deciding how many you should join.

This is especially as a drawback of a university society is that it can be very time consuming. Due to this, you may want to limit how many societies you join to just one or two in order to avoid spreading yourself too thin.

Remember that university societies are extracurricular activities and that you also have your degree studies to think about. Plus, if you take on too much, you will probably not be able to make the most out of each society you do.

However, this is just my personal opinion and so you should do as many as you can manage to do. Just remember that university societies are meant to be fun and a way to meet likeminded people.

If you are finding university societies or even just university life in general stressful, you may want to check out this Think Student article to learn how to better deal with stress at university.

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