How joining a club or society could land you your dream job or a leadership training course in Malaysia(!)
As I’m writing, ‘Fresher’s week’ is well underway and excited new faces are all over campus trying to figure out the location of everything from the library, halls, faculty offices and where to get a pint! One of the highlights of Fresher’s Week is the sports and societies fair which is normally held on a Wednesday, this year, however, there were so many clubs and societies that the fair was split over two days. I really hope you made the trip to the University over these two days and gave yourself enough time to walk around and look at everything. Joining a sports club or society can be beneficial to you in ways you didn’t even think of, even after you’ve left university. If you, for some reason, couldn’t attend, don’t despair, I’ve included the links to all the sports clubs and societies further down and there’s still time to join.
Taking part in arranged social activities is the perfect way to gain skills to impress your future employer with. Have you for example considered that playing a team sport show that you are able to cooperate with others and work as part of a team towards a common goal? Or that participating in a reading group shows commitment, or that volunteering shows compassion and dedication (maybe even more so than the group work you had to do in class as this is on your own initiative!) When applying for jobs it is a huge plus to be able to show off what type of person you are through the activities you engage in during your spare time. The degree you hold gives you the qualifications to do the job you want, but showing your future employer who you are as a person through achievements and participation in activities is key to secure you that job. Consider the following statements; “I am a self-driven person who works well in a team" vs “at Uni I was elected Captain of the water polo club and arranged for us to practise weekly and compete every month.’ Or perhaps “at Uni I was the Social Secretary in my chess club and arranged social gatherings as well as a weekend trip to Wales, where we competed against other Universities at national level”. The two last statements not only prove that you are trustworthy, respected and well organised, they are real examples of times you handled situations that would be valuable to an employee, which gives you an easy access point to the dreaded “Can you give me an example of a time you handled a difficult situation?” question. Maybe you had to rearrange practise times due to sickness, maybe you handled a meeting with the producer of your kit or maybe you helped arrange a beach clean-up. Your degree is what the employer hires you for, your achievements and activities are why they hire you.
For me joining a club was initially a possibility to get back into a sport I couldn’t afford on my own whilst studying. Horse riding isn’t a cheap hobby, but joining the equestrian club was an affordable opportunity to ride and compete although I don’t own my own horse. A year later I’ve gained loads of fun experiences and memories and I’m getting ready to lead the club I joined last year through a new and exciting year of challenges and development.
*Photos are mainly from the area around our stand in the SU during the sports day.
If you are new to the University and maybe not from the area, joining a club or society is the perfect way to meet people with the same interest as you, and with over 50 sports clubs and 115+ societies, there should be something for everyone.
If you can’t find what you are looking for there is always the possibility of creating your own club or society. For more information about how to start a club or society visit the Hive at the Student’s Union.
Now, on to how joining a social activity could land you a 4-day leadership development program in Malaysia. (How cool is that!) This year the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) is running a Residential School at Heriot-Watt University in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – “Giving student leaders practical means to promote respect and understanding”. The University of Plymouth is able to nominate one student to be considered for the opportunity and they are looking for: ‘students who have held leadership positions (e.g. in a student society, students’ union or community organisation) and who are keen to affect change upon their return to Plymouth’. So by joining a club or a society, you could find yourself qualifying for this course or similar events in the near future. A free trip to an exotic country and career development, all while having fun and doing something you really enjoy. I call that a win-win. For more information about this year’s program follow the links below:
ACU Residential School
Background on the host University