One of the best things I told myself before going to University (after having lots of people tell me the same), was to get involved! And, I am so grateful for sticking to this promise, as my first year may have looked totally different without it.
What can I do?
When you’re faced with thinking about what to get involved with at University you may think, well I’ve got my course haven’t I? Yes that’s true, and that is primarily the reason you are there, but that isn’t going to (and shouldn’t) take up all of your time. There are things from volunteering to part-time work, projects, studies, sports and societies with opportunities to involve yourself in. They will not only enable to try something new, but to also meet people, immerse yourself in and enjoy yourself, but they are great experiences and will develop skills that you can take into the future. The Students Union Website has all of the clubs and societies that are offered at Surrey so do take a look – https://www.ussu.co.uk/getinvolved/clubs. You’re bound to find something in that long list that will spark an interest, or continue something you are currently involved in, or re-take up something that you used to love.
How to do it
During your first few weeks at University, there will be events (potentially virtually this year), where clubs and societies will let you know what they are about. So, look out for announcements of any taster sessions to attend and how to get to them. Most clubs will offer these to try them out before committing to buy a membership
Don’t be afraid
Even if you are feeling nervous, I’m sure you are not alone in this, there is already enough ‘new’, you may be likely not to want to add more unknown to your load, but it won’t be new for long – everyone is so friendly and helpful that it won’t be scary. Plus, you’ll find people to share the experience, and any concerns with.
You feel part of something, separate to your studies, and get to know like-minded people with similar interests to you, and it gives you a sense of belonging outside of your studies. Your degree is not all that you go to University for – there is so much more to it than that.
It is not the same for everyone but I do feel like, sometimes, being a part of something can give you an identity and a purpose – somewhere you belong. They say that we have many ‘and’s’ – this can be one of yours.
Another benefit is meeting people from other years at University – rather than just Freshers, there are second, third and fourth years who you will learn from and feel supported by. It’s not like at school where the years are quite separated – everything blends and I hardly realise when someone if is a different year to me! Plus, they can give you advice so that you don’t have to make the same mistakes! If you join something you enjoy or think you will enjoy, your bound to be surrounded by like-minded people. And, of course, you’ll meet other new Freshers too!
But I don’t have time…
They say that you can always find time for things that you enjoy. I agree with this – as long as you are not over-subscribing yourself to twenty different activities and commitments, one or two hobbies or passions besides your studying and social life are totally manageable. It’s just about mindset, managing your time and wanting to do it!
I hope that this has inspired you to start thinking about this coming academic year and got you excited about passions outside of your studies, to get involved with.