Hi everyone! I’m Elena, a final year Business Management student. Societies are a great opportunity to meet lots of new, like-minded people and we’ve got lots of them at Surrey – you can look them up here: https://ussu.co.uk/activity/clubs-societies/. They can also introduce you to new hobbies. For some of them, you have to pay a membership, but others are free.
Before I continue with this entry, my one recommendation is to definitely go to Freshers’ Fair and get involved with whatever you want! If you can’t go, definitely look at some societies online and either check their socials or email them to find out when their meetings/sessions are!
Being in Final Year and it being Freshers’ Week, I keep looking back at when I started Uni and thinking about what I’ve loved about my experience or what I’d do differently.
What I’d Keep The Same
In my First Year, I joined StagTV. StagTV is an award-winning student TV station. We film fun videos, short films and do livestreams. I love the society and have been in its committee since second year. Lots of my best Uni memories come from being in StagTV. I’ve met lots of amazing people and learnt a lot too. Before coming to Surrey, I’d dipped my toes in video-making but had never done it with proper equipment. I’d also never done a livestream before and since being at University, I’ve helped in a lot of them including Live From (a live music show), Surrey Decides (Surrey’s student elections) and Univision (University Eurovision-style contest which we started at Surrey in 2020). We’ve also done fun socials such as a Halloween-themed game night, movie nights and bar crawls with other media societies.
During my time at Surrey, I haven’t really joined any other societies but I have worked with Stage Crew a lot as they collaborate often with StagTV. I’ve also joined my friends on some of their society bar crawls or pres and that’s been very fun. It’s a way of meeting people and start getting into a society without fully committing. There’s actually quite a lot of people that might be part of a society but only go to their socials instead of their training sessions or official meetings. I didn’t think about doing that in my First Year, but if I did Uni all over again, I definitely would!
What I Would Change
I wished I’d joined more societies in my First Year. I didn’t because of a few things: I didn’t think I’d have time and I didn’t want to join a club/society if I hadn’t tried the activity before (thought I’d be really bad at it).
“I didn’t have time”
Coming to University, I wanted to get a First in my First Year. That is a good objective to have, and I did get a First, but I also thought between getting really involved in StagTV, going out, learning French, and studying for my degree, I wouldn’t have time for another society. I was wrong! Looking back, I did have time to join more societies, even if it was just for socials! I could’ve had a look at which ones fit my schedule.
“Don’t want to join if I haven’t tried it before”
Again, I was wrong. Uni is a great place to find new hobbies. And Surrey has 150+ clubs and societies, so it’s the perfect place to learn something new! For skill-based societies, societies and clubs usually put on social sessions or have different level-based sessions for people that have not got that much experience in that activity before. I do understand my First-Year self though; it can be daunting to join a new activity especially if you don’t have any friends to go with. The good thing is you’ll meet new people in these societies and some will also be complete newbies, so you can already bond over that!
To recap, go to as many Freshers’ events as you can, look into Societies and Clubs and join at least one. I’d recommend trying out a few more and if you don’t like them, you don’t have to join officially! Lots of societies and clubs also offer a few try-out sessions before you pay membership. I’ll definitely be trying out some new societies, even in my final year! Just know there’s always time to join clubs and societies, but time does fly by when it comes to Uni, so make the most of it now!