Learning work/life balance
Newsflash! Students are human beings, not robots! Wow, who would have thought?
Yes, you need to work hard and dedicate yourself to your studies. University education is so important for so many reasons, from setting yourself up for a good career, to making the most of the £9,250 you are paying yearly to attend. No-one is denying that. But the matter of the fact is that you are also still you, you still have interests, hobbies and a desire for fun that we young people pine for.
I would argue that your studies and personal life need one another to run smoothly for you to succeed. How are you supposed to be happy if you spend all your time working around your course and nothing else? When do you get a break? Keeping up with your university work can give you a real sense of achievement and getting involved with your choice of society will keep those positive and happy vibes going without burning out on essays and reading.
Learning to balance studies and leisure time is a great example of time management skills. This is something that almost every employer is keen on so not only are you structuring yourself positively now, you are also preparing yourself for the working world in the future. There is no such thing as skipping your 9am day at work I’m afraid. Better get the practice in now.
Listen up boys and girls, working a 9-5 can be quite a slap in the face when you’re fresh out of university. There’s no time for mid-morning coffees with your housemates or spontaneous trips into town for some shopping in-between lectures. I didn’t want to have to mention this either but the reality of working is also…..no more long holidays….. I know, I’m as gutted as you but, this is all the more reason to seize your Uni years with both hands!
It’s unlikely you’ll go on a crazy and fun-packed sports tour to Portugal again, or attend weekly French-speaking wine nights when you’re working for the man full time. I can’t think when you’ll next dress up like pencils or animals for sports socials, or have the opportunity to spend time on becoming fluent in sign language.
Societies are cheap fun too! When else will you get half-price mixology classes than when in cocktail society? When will you have the opportunity to sail around the coast of England in fully provided boats and gear for less than a restaurant food bill? I’m telling you, now is the time to spend what little money we students have wisely. Make memories before you become too busy to do so.
Following a Passion
University is intense stuff so don’t let it take over completely. Yes, you might be studying physics but that doesn’t mean you can’t still love bee-keeping or baking. Your life doesn’t stop in fresher’s week. That is the time to sign up to these societies and further your interest or skills. Don’t forget what you stand for and what makes you, you.
This is also the perfect opportunity to discover new hobbies or interests that you didn’t realise you even had! Give it a go, try out ladies rugby, turn your hand to poker, and discover your ability moot and debate. Treat university as a blank canvas, try what’s on offer! This is the only time so many options will be accessible to you.
Can’t find any stalls at the fresher’s fair that appeal? So what? Create your own society! Be the founder of your uni’s very first global warming society or gather together a group of arm-wrestling fans and get that off the ground. The world is your oyster here so go nuts and make it happen. I cannot even describe how beneficial this would be for your CV and future interviews too. Being able to say you established your own club or society really says a lot about your organisational skills and management abilities.
Rather than spending crazy money on a gym membership, why not join a sports society instead? That way you can make new friends, improve on teamwork, reduce stress and of course, get fit!
I would go as far as to say that sports societies are where it’s at. Dress up sports nights, tours abroad, nation-wide tournaments and the all-important varsity.
Look at all the different options available to you. Lose weight through cross country or tone up at pole dancing. Keeping healthy at university is so important for your well-being and success, especially after those kilos of pasta and late nights at the student union bar…
Enhancing your CV
You may not realise, but joining a society at university does wonders for your CV. Anyone can achieve a 2:1 by working hard but can they do that whilst also keeping up with a club or society? Not everyone can. This will really make you stand out in the hiring process. The list of relevant skills you can gain is endless, from teamwork, time management, event planning, and problem-solving, to leadership, organisation, public speaking and interacting with various professional bodies such as faculty and alumni. It may just feel like a kick around on the pitch but there is so much you gain from societies than meets the eye.
The hobbies and interests that you keep up during uni are also nice discussion points in interviews. It’s great to catch the attention of a fellow hockey player or coding enthusiast whilst applying for jobs, it makes you more memorable. Going that extra mile and becoming a member of the society committee only furthers your position of responsibility and increases your employability.
Meeting New People
University can be intimidating at first, there’s no doubt about that. Meeting new people is one of the most important elements of starting uni, you’ve come from a town that maybe no one has heard of and now you’re in a strange new city, or you’ve come from the heart of a thriving area but now you’re faced with new names, new faces, and new personalities. Now is the time to find your people, the pond is so much bigger to search around in and you will make friends for life at university, you simply need to find them. The most natural order in which you meet new people will be; those living in your block/house, those in your lectures and tutor groups, and then those who you will meet in a society. Clearly, you will have something in common with course mates as you’ve both chosen to study the same subject however, there’s more to you than just your subject. Societies are the best way to find people who have the same interests, the same skills, and the same passions as you.
Meeting people through societies is not just about making friends either, it is also a great way to network beyond your course, improving your employability and ability to integrate. Without question, you will learn “soft skills”, or “people skills”, through joining a society and interacting with people in more than just a social context.
These days success is balanced rather evenly between who you know as well as what you know. Networking is going to be so important for your future prospects. I myself have secured 3 separate jobs that I have loved, through networking and getting my name out there to employers. Building relationships for your future are key to making the most of the degree classification you have earned. Otherwise, what’s the point in achieving a good degree if you don’t know what to do with it next or where to go?
Networking through a society means that you have the chance to turn your hobby into a job. You can enjoy what you do and achieve career satisfaction with less hassle than necessary. Regular networking means you can get your name and face out there, become memorable to the professionals, alumni and faculty who attend networking events. They are there to network too, not just for the free wine…..probably…..
Break from studying
We’ve all been there. The wall. Where no student dares to admit they are drawing blanks and their brains have turned to mush. Your brain is a muscle, it needs to be worked hard, but also looked after and well rested. How are you expected to work well when the muscle you need to do so is exhausted?
Joining a society allows you to have some fun, get out of the library for a couple of hours every week and switch off that over-worked brain. This will significantly reduce stress levels and will help you work on creating a better weekly schedule, you will have a structure to your week which benefits everything from sleeping to exercising, to socialising.
Applying what you’ve learnt in classes
Where is your university education actually going to take you? How does all of what you’ve learned in class play out in real life? Joining a society such as Law society will give you the opportunity to moot, debate and enter into group projects. All of which will take your learning from the lecture hall into practical use. This could help your decision as to whether you actually want to enter into that sector of the working world or if maybe you just prefer learning about the subject but don’t feel it’s necessarily the path you want to head down work-wise.
Societies work the other way too in so much that the skills you learn from your time in the society can aid you in the classroom too. You can become more effective in group projects, more critical of theory application, all of which benefits you in the long run.