Time management at uni is tough, and before you know it you’re at the end of your degree and thrust into the world of grown-up stuff. Non-uni goers look upon our student lives as lazy and pretty easy, but fitting in deadlines, socialising and all the other sports/extra-curricular/part-time jobs we seem to accumulate over our degree can take its toll. But god, it’s worth it!
I love keeping busy, and although I was never going to be one signing up to one of the sports teams, I was absolutely inundated with the opportunity to join a gazillion different societies when I rolled up to Cardiff as a scared fresher. Whether you’re interested in changing the world with Oxfam, growing your own vegetables, trying your hand at fashion or playing Quidditch (I kid you not…), there will actually be a society for everyone. And if not… just make your own!
I decided to join the Journalism Society, my school’s course-based one as I wanted to get to know more people doing the same degree as me and was really interested in the sort of opportunities that may arise. And although I did meet friends for life through the society (the people I met at the welcome social are now my housemates), it was lacking a certain something that other societies had. So… I at the end of first year, I nominated myself to be the President, and got it!
I was really nervous at first as I didn’t know what it would entail, but a long year later, I look at the society my committee and I grew and I am so proud. I led an incredible team of people and we took the society to a whole new level, introducing a membership fee, being one of the top ten most signed-up to societies, becoming sponsored by Microsoft Windows and Vodka Revolution and organising BBC tours, industry talks, fortnightly socials and of course, the highlight, our spring ball!
Running a society is like having a job alongside your degree, there’s a lot to do, and a lot of things to manage and keep track of, but standing in front of 136 happy students and faculty members at the first Journalism ball in about 10 years, made every stressful late night and committee meeting seem worth it.
I have one more year at Cardiff, and wasn’t ready to say goodbye to my society and watch it in the hands of someone else, so I renominated myself and I was thrilled to have been voted in as President for the second year in a row. This time round, we had tons more interest in being in the committee, and loads of things up our sleeves for the next academic year.
There are so many benefits of being in a society, and running one. Being in a society means you make friends that you may not necessarily have had the chance to meet otherwise, you get to reap the benefits that a group of dedicated students have created for you. Socials, discounts, tours and talks are just a number of things you get to when being a member. Running a society? OK, it’s hard work, but the satisfaction you get out of it is second to none. And may I add, the skills you accumulate create a CV that any employer should be impressed with. Whether you’re a President showing your leadership and delegation skills, or a treasurer proving your excellent at handling money and extremely trustworthy, or you’re the one behind the amazing socials, or you run your society’s web pages… all the roles ultimately prove that as well as your degree, you’ve created and helped grow something fantastic.
So what I’m trying to say, is that no university experience is the same without joining a society or sports team. Experiencing being behind the workings of a society has opened my eyes to the dedication and hard work it takes to run it. It has been disheartening at times, organising a social that not many people turn up to, but if it makes just five people’s university experiences the best ever, then we’ve done our job.
So just get involved, before you know, and I know this is sad to admit, university will have flashed before your eyes and you’ll be stuck in the world of adults and employment, wishing you’d plucked up the courage to go and try a game of ultimate frisbee, or fulfil your life long dream of joining an accapella group.
The Societies Fayre takes place during Fresher’s Week (probably the 25th/26th September 2014… but wait for the announcement), and it’s your chance to try something new, or show-off the talent you already have. Trust me, you won’t regret it.