Societies in first year... and second year

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By Hendrike Rahtz, Living Sub-Editor

With the Freshers’ hype dying down and the society welcome emails getting snowed under in your inbox, the society novelty may have simply worn off for some. While this article will not give you a ‘recipe for success’ like some self-help book, nor the magic combination of societies for non-stop socials throughout the week, it does aim to give some friendly advice, taking my own personal experience into account.

First year comes with a mixture of fear and excitement, moving into your new student accommodation, getting lost on campus, and of course, perhaps most frightening but exciting of all, meeting new people.

I always assumed I was too late to join anything.

Of course, you go to the Fresher’s Fair (AKA the Wetherspoons and Dominos voucher free-for-all), where you’ll sign up for a range of activities and societies you had never even realised existed. If you’re like me, well, you might not bother beyond the first welcome emails. You’ve made enough friends in your halls, and met enough coursemates – aren’t societies only made for meeting new people? You have interests but for most, the biggest interest of first year is pubbing and clubbing.

However, I watched flatmates go off and become involved in various societies and love it- but I always assumed I was too late to join anything, especially activities the sports teams. But then, through a friend, I started to submit articles to Epigram Music, which was fun, but I still didn’t meet anyone new. Once I applied for a role on the editorial team, that’s when I thought maybe the idea of joining societies might be living up to its potential.

I realised as a second year, attending the Fresher’s Fair, that actually it’s never too late at all to join any society. Even though I had settled into my new flat, it wasn’t like halls anymore – you don’t meet new people as regularly as before, be that a positive or a negative experience! I wanted to make new friends and start new activities. University is probably the best place to do both, and there can be much more to your degree than the course itself. There is a society for everyone. I joined yoga to improve wellbeing; I joined Epigram’s editorial team because I liked writing; I chose to volunteer to get involved in Bristol’s community.

It’s early days for me – but having various activities to take part in during the week provides a well-rounded structure that helps in taking a break from studying. I do recommend it – don’t be shy, whatever your year!

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Featured image: Hendrike Rahtz / Epigram


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