The moment you arrive in Exeter as a bright-eyed Fresher, you’re handed a hefty tome listing the vast array of societies and tasters on offer. The opportunities are endless. You vow to reinvent yourself; perhaps you’ll learn how to surf, perhaps you’ll learn how to take over the world (BLS – we are talking about you!) or perhaps you’ll become an Olympic rower. Having never quite been cool enough to be successful on my school netball team I decided to reinvent myself as Sporty Spice! I joined rowing, I joined lacrosse, I joined Windriders, I played netball for Politics society, I joined Big Band, I got involved in ECU, I debated with Debsoc, I drank with Winesoc, I reeled with Calsoc and I quickly earned the nickname of ‘Eliza-do-a-lot.’ Despite now being third year, I’m still involved in a gazillion and one societies, although rowing was brushed aside for Triathlon. I’m borderline manically busy, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I quickly earned the nickname of ‘Eliza-do-a-lot.’
My closest friends have all come from societies. You have something naturally in common, unlike your flat mates, randomly flung together by some mysterious university staff member in a dingy office somewhere deep in the depths of university administration. Without societies it so easy for university life to blur into nothingness, with no one to tell you when to get up or go to bed, and only minimal timetabled hours. Being part of these societies gives life away from home some structure; they give me somewhere to be, something to be responsible for. Also, it is one of the few opportunities in life to take up something completely new and learn to be good at it; when again will it be as easy to drop all your responsibilities and go wakeboarding on a Wednesday afternoon?
It doesn’t matter what you join, but for heavens sake make sure you join something
It doesn’t matter what you join, but for heavens sake make sure you join something. The cynic would say it looks mightily good on a CV to have a broad array of interests, but in reality, joining societies is just the best thing to do for your sanity. You’ll meet new people and who knows what you’ll discover a passion for.
I never planned to join debating at university, scarred by geeky competitions at school, yet having been given a leaflet by a Prince Harry look-a-like at the top of Forum Hill I was powerless to refuse. Now two years on, two of my closest friends, my eternal cup of tea companions, I met through debating. If I hadn’t been so fickle when Prince Harry gave me a leaflet, my life would definitely be the poorer for it!