When I first came to university, there was so much free time compared to what I was used to in Sixth Form. Having never lived away from home, uni was my opportunity to spend my time exactly how I wanted to. With all this free time and newfound independence, I was really excited to go to Freshers Fair and see what clubs and societies I could join.
Going to Freshers Fair was overwhelming, with hundreds of different clubs and societies all run by students asking you to join. I couldn’t believe how much choice there was! I felt so lucky and overwhelmed to have these opportunities available to me.
I’ve never considered myself a sporty person before. I always shied away from sport in school, choosing instead to chat with my friends and avoid joining in. I’d toyed with dance and badminton as a teenager, but nothing really stuck. Yet because there was so much choice (and most of it was walking distance away from me at Surrey Sports Park) I was determined to find a sport that suited me – one wasn’t a team sport, looked fun and could introduce me to new people.
I tried rock climbing with the Mountaineering club (USMC) during active freshers. It was really enjoyable (and scary!) climbing on the indoors walls in the sports park, and I knew I wanted to join. I remember walking to the first club session on my own, as I did’t know anyone else who wanted to join. (My flatmates ended up joining ultimate frisbee!) I was so nervous and has to will myself to go and introduce myself to new people, but looking back I am really glad I made that decision and opened myself up to the opportunity.
The beauty of sports and societies at uni is that so many people are in the same boat. Lots of people were also new to the club and trying climbing for the first time, and everyone there was really supportive and helped us to learn. If I’d have tried to learn climbing outside of a university club, I know I’d have had to pay an expensive instructor to teach me and would never have been able to justify the cost.
Fast forward and by my second year at university, I was the club secretary for the Mountaineering club. I had been on lots of club trips, climbing outdoors for the first time, and even climbing in the sunny Alpes for a week!
Trying new sports doesn’t have to stop in first year. In my second year I decided I wanted to learn how to ski. Similarly to rock climbing, joining the university club meant the lessons were much more affordable, and I was in lessons with other students who were all new to skiing.
I started at the beginner club sessions on a dry ski slope local to Surrey. The lessons were once a week and the club organised transport from campus. The other people there were equally as hopeless on skis and new to the sport as me, and we started off really slowly, eventually learning how to turn (whoo hoo!) and glide down the dry ski slope with parallel skis.
The university club trip was my first experience of skiing on real snow. I decided to take a few more lessons on the mountain with the friends I’d made from the beginner lessons back in Surrey, but soon we were up in the mountains and by the end of the week we were gliding down with a little more grace!
Why join a sports club?
- There are so many options to try, even for people like me who haven’t found a sport they like before university.
- It’s a great way to meet new people and spend your free time. The clubs are run by students, for students, with the help of the Student’s Union.
- You don’t have to be great at sport to join in. Lots of people are begginers as well, especially if you join something less common like fencing, karting or water polo. Most teams have social sessions for people just wanting to learn and meet new people.
- The facilities and training you get are impressive, at a really reduced price for being a student. Especially if you want to learn something that has expensive gear like sailing or diving, a uni club is a perfect place to start because they have all the knowledge and equipment.
- Joining a club can also help your employability and be a great addition to your CV.
A big part of university life are the experiences that happen outside of your uni timetable. Joining sports clubs at Surrey has made me a much more confident person, and introduced me to some great sports and people.
There is a full list of the sports clubs currently running at Surrey on the Student’s Unions website. There are more posts like this about student life at Surrey on the Surrey Student Experience blog .