Olivia Saunders is one of our third year BA History students and is on the committee for the History society at Birmingham. Here she gives us five benefits of joining a society at University.

Written by Olivia Saunders

Meeting new people is one of the most crucial first steps in your university experience. For many of us, by going to university we are taking a leap into the unknown. Saying goodbye to the same faces that you have seen every day for, potentially, the past 7 years. Throwing yourself headfirst into a pool of unknown faces. This can feel like a daunting experience. But rest assured, everyone else is in the same boat as you. University is the time to meet your people and there are a multiplicity of ways to seek these people out. Naturally, you will have some common ground with the people on your course. But I highly doubt that your interests start and end with your degree. Therefore, societies are the best way to seek out people who share in your interests, skills and passions.

History Society Ball 2020

History Society Ball 2020

Your degree is the nucleus of your life at university. Although, that doesn’t mean that you should allow it to take over your life completely. Whether you want to further your skills and interests or discover a new hobby that you didn’t even realise you were interested in, societies are the perfect way to have a well needed break from your studies. Birmingham offers a plethora of societies ranging from Baking Soc to Doctor Who Soc and everything in between. So, I’d be surprised if you were unable to find something that strikes your fancy. If you aren’t interested in any of the societies on offer though, then create one of your own – problem solved! As long as you have enough interest from likeminded individuals, along with the drive and determination to set up and run your own society, then the sky’s the limit.

Pitch Please, Acapella Society, Screenshot of video from 2021

Pitch Please, Acapella Society, Screenshot of video from 2021

If you don’t quite have the motivation or the money to spend on a gym membership, then joining a sports society might be the perfect fit for you. This will give you the added benefit of making new friends whilst, of course, getting fit – it’s a win-win! Keeping fit and healthy is incredibly important for your mental health and well-being, along with being a good way to counteract all the pesto pasta and pot noodles that you will undoubtedly devour during your first few weeks of University.

History Society Netball Team, playing Campus League match against Politics Society

History Society Netball Team, playing Campus League match against Politics Society

Whether you are looking for a part-time job alongside your studies, or you are ploughing through dozens of graduate job applications, societies are a fantastic way to demonstrate to employers who you are and what skills you have acquired outside of the workplace. Through taking up roles on society committees, you can gain invaluable work experience in an incredibly fun environment. This isn’t the only way to increase your skill set though, as simply by involving yourself in societies you can vastly increase your interpersonal and team working skills.

History Society Trip to Dublin, 2019

History Society Trip to Dublin, 2019

Ask yourself, when else in your life will you dress up like the animals from Noah’s Arc for a sport social? Or have the opportunity to run your own podcast or radio show. Will you have the time to attend weekly gin-tasting evenings, or dance show rehearsals when you are out working a 9-5. The answer is probably no… trust me, I’m just as gutted as you are. But that’s all the more reason to get involved throughout your time at University. Societies are also very cheap, which is perfect for all of us students who are already scraping the bottom of our bank accounts, only a couple weeks into term.