My experience being part of societies at university
Hi, I’m Alex, a second-year student at Leeds Beckett. In this blog I’ll be sharing my experiences within two very different societies and how I’ve loved being a part of them.
I have probably had one of the most unique experiences with societies whilst at Leeds Beckett University. When I first joined, I went to the Freshers Fair and looked around at all the different societies on offer. I ended up joining the Leeds Beckett Sub Aqua Society (Scuba Diving). A few weeks later, after talking to a few students on my course, I re-established the Leeds Beckett Politics and International Relations Society.
Sub Aqua Society
The Sub Aqua Society is a society that teaches students how to scuba dive safely. Through lessons in classrooms to learn the theory and on-site training in the pool, they make sure that you can go and dive anywhere in the world. The society sets up trips to dive sites around the UK and in the summer around the world. Now bear in mind, the UK has some cold waters, so training in these waters will set us up for diving anywhere. There is a wide range of members from students to members of the local community who want to take part, experienced divers who have been members for years and complete novices like myself who had no idea what they were doing when they signed up.
How I got involved
I initially wanted to join the Sub Aqua Society because I'd always wanted to learn to dive. I've been on holidays and seen people dive in amazing sites and come back with some wonderful photos and experiences.
When I went to the Freshers Fair there were loads of stalls, all with information about lots of different societies. I saw the stall for the Sub Aqua Society and kind of ran towards it.
They were offering free try-dives to make sure that people wanted to take part. I went a long and had an amazing dive with one of the instructors and they haven't been able to get rid of me since. We usually meet once a week. We have an hour-long theory lesson followed by an hour in the pool doing what we just learnt about and then we end up in a local pub for a drink, catchup with each other and debrief about how we think we did and what could be better.
Everyone in the Sub Aqua Society makes a real effort to get along and welcome each other. When you initially start, it can be a nerve-racking experience, being around people you don’t know, but with a shared interest, you bond quickly. As you are doing a quite dangerous sport with a partner, it is in both of your best interests to get along, which means that everyone is really close and very friendly.
It's a great way to network as well. Everyone has a different background with different subjects. Some are young, some are old. Some are students and some are lecturers. There's a wide range of people who all love the same thing.
Politics and International Relations Society
The Politics and International Relations Society is a course-based society. The different years of students who are taking Politics and IR based course don’t really mix so we re-established the society as a way of making new friends and connecting with more students. There’s a relatively small number of students per year so we wanted to make sure that each year could connect and help each other through the degree and have fun.
With the P and IR society, we would meet fortnightly and plan events to get everyone together and have fun. Our most successful events have been getting people together to join in with the Dry Dock pub quiz. We had a laugh and a drink and managed to fail terribly at the quiz but it was a lot of fun. As the different year groups can socialise, it means that you have the opportunity to get help on assignments that the year above have already done. As we are all Politics and IR students there are always good discussions about current affairs which is a shared interest, but most of the time it’s a great chance for a gossip and catch up.
Joining societies is a great way to make friends as everyone has similar interests and there's a common ground to start conversations.
Also, if you join the society and it becomes a new hobby or passion then you might want to join the committee like I did. Joining the committee gives you great experience and allows for development of skills and leadership abilities. This blog covered the societies that I’ve joined but there are a wide range of societies on offer for you to get involved with. You can find the list here.