Societies are a great way to make friends and spend time doing something you love. Yet, there are so many to pick from that Freshers Fair can become a little overwhelming.
Firstly, work out what you already enjoy. Some people know immediately that they want to join a football team or performing arts club, but not everyone has that instant passion that they always refer to. Think about what you’ve done in the past and whether it’d be something you’d want to pursue further. We all have that one thing we enjoyed but never taken seriously or as far as we’d want to, but university is a great time to explore those routes.
One you’ve worked out an area that you’d be interested, don’t just dart straight away to these clubs. Freshers Fair is a wonderful time to see the full spectrum that the university has to offer, including many societies you probably didn’t know existed. For instance, all of these are legitimate societies:
· Real Ale & Cider
· Vegetarian and Vegan
· A Cappella
· Harry Potter
· Knit Fast, Die Warm
It’s worth checking out what each booth has to offer (as many of them will also have free sweets and/or cakes).
Remember, joining a society doesn’t mean that you’re locked in. Many will have taster days or Freshers events where you can try them out for free. Even if you do join a club and find a little further down the line that it’s not for you, you can simply quit at any point.
It’s always important to get a feel for the people, too. It’s all well and good being passionate about an activity, but if you don’t gel with the people, then it can really make or break your experience.
As well as this, ask about the schedule of events. Sports teams will have a more frequent, heavy schedule in terms of both practice and socials. Many sports teams will have two or three socials at the start, and then at least one every week from then on. The more serious the nature of the club is will determine the frequency and duration of practice. Some may only have games on the weekends, but others will have two practice sessions alongside that during the week. For these, you may also need to factor in the time and cost of getting to and from the sessions, too.
In terms of cost, always ask about the fees. Many clubs will simply have a joining fee of £5-£10 which they put towards the cost of their social. However, others can be upwards of £100 as they need to purchase equipment or put a high amount into travel. For these clubs, the risk is obviously quite high so you need to be sure you’re going to enjoy them before signing up.
My last piece of advice is to give your email out to everyone you have a mild interest in. At the start, the emails can be pesky, but they soon drop off after the fresher’s events have stopped. The benefit here is that you can find out about all of the taster sessions and upcoming events as and when they happen. It also saves you from having awkward conversations with the people at the stalls for societies you only have a slight interest in. You’ll quickly learn that everyone at the fresher’s fair just wants to get your email, and as soon as you give it to them, you can be on your way.
Essentially, it's a case of experiment, explore, and enjoy. The three E’s to live by when it comes to Freshers Fair. Don’t be scared of talking to the people at the stalls as they’ll be more than happy to tell you everything you need. Oh, and email! That’s the fourth E.