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The Big Question: Do you really have to join all these societies?

The Big Question aims to answer those queries that students find themselves asking everyday- the big and the small; the serious and the silly. Stuck at an impossible crossroads? Let Impact help you make an informed decision.

“Now, as a postgraduate, I look back at Freshers’ Fair, and I wish I’d joined more societies.” Andrew argues YES.

In something like my second week of being at university, I walked into a room. Everyone there mostly looked terrified. It was my first experience of being in a society, but in that room were some of my closest friends.

My second experience was in an entirely different environment, with completely different people. On a cold, miserable evening on the hockey pitches over the road from the University, I became part of an IMS hockey team I would later captain, and then become President of.

In that room were some of my closest friends.

At neither of these meetings would I have known how instrumental these two societies, one departmental, one sport, would be in my three years as an undergraduate at Nottingham. Now, as a postgraduate, I look back at Freshers’ Fair, and I wish I’d joined more societies. I wish that I’d spared myself the odd pint at the pub to pay for membership to KettleSoc, or avoided going on a shopping spree at Primark and been able to afford to join the Real Ale Society. But even then, I would only have joined a small number of the societies available here.

I wish that I’d spared myself the odd pint at the pub to pay for membership to KettleSoc.

There are 239 different societies at UoN, ranging from the Academic Medicine Society to Zumba. Beyond that, there are a huge number of sports clubs. Yes, I suppose you could come to university and sign up to every single society, but that’s not what I’d recommend. Join a few. Too many to keep track of throughout the year, but enough to give you a wide range of activities throughout the first few weeks. If you’re worried about costs, go for mailing lists. Get involved with your chosen societies for the first month, and if you like them, pay for the membership.

You may not be able to afford to join every society that is available, and that’s fine. Nobody expects you to join every single one. But if you avoid joining any of them, you risk losing those friendships which will, in the next few years, prove to be one of the defining points of your time at university. So join as many as you can, because you have no idea who’s waiting for you at that next social.

Andrew Fox 

 

“If you start signing up to too many the cost can soon add up and start eating into your budget.”- Danny argues NO.

From the moment you walk into Freshers Fair during your first week at Nottingham, you are confronted by an abundance of societies offering all manner of activities to get involved with outside of your academic work.

A lot of emphasis is placed on getting yourself involved in clubs and societies as much as possible in order to meet new people, particularly during first year. I remember feeling quite daunted by it all myself, wondering if I’d find the time and the money to be able to commit.

I remember feeling quite daunted by it all myself, wondering if I’d find the time and the money to be able to commit.

Certainly, money may be an issue for some. The vast majority of societies charge for membership for the year and, although often only a few pounds, if you start signing up to too many the cost can soon add up and start eating into your budget. Cake Soc, RockSoc and Poker Soc all charge a standard £5 fee. However, this excludes events throughout the year such as pricey boat cruises and formals – for example, the GeogSoc charged £25 for their cruise down the River Trent last year. Focusing on just one or two helps the bank balance look slightly better.

The question on most people’s minds in relation to societies is ‘Will I have the time to attend all the socials?’ Even though first year is when you’ll find you have the most free time, the likelihood is you’ll only be able to take part in a couple of events each week. Unfortunately, if you join too many societies, it’s inevitable that meetings will clash and you won’t be able to attend them all.

Unfortunately, if you join too many societies, it’s inevitable that meetings will clash and you won’t be able to attend them all.

So, although you could go mad and join anything that takes your fancy (chances are you’ve been a little over-enthusiastic and done this already in Week One!), in my opinion it would be advisable to narrow your choices down to those which interest you the most and could potentially offer opportunities in the future. Sticking with just a couple is more beneficial in the long run; it will give you the freedom to maneuver around other activities, whether academic or extra-curricular, and you’ll find that you form stronger relationships with the members of those societies which you attend on a regular basis.

Danny Ward

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Image: http://www.su.nottingham.ac.uk/activities/societies/

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