As we are inching towards the end of term 2, many societies are conducting their election processes for the next set of executive members. In this blog, Gunisha interviews students to hear about their experiences with societies and sports clubs on campus, along with their advice about joining societies.
Warwick is home to over 300 student-run clubs and societies. As a first year, I was amazed by the sheer number of societies and clubs I saw at the sports and societies fair during Welcome Week. I wanted to join them all, from the Boxing club to the Bubble Tea Society. However, given that I also needed to sleep, eat, socialise, and study for my degree, I could only join a few societies. Therefore, I thought it would be interesting to interview a diverse set of people involved in different societies to learn more about their experiences with societies and sports clubs on campus.
Could you please introduce yourselves and mention the societies and clubs you are involved with on campus?
AT: Hi, I am Aarathy Thusyanthan, and I am a second-year economics student. I live in Cambridge, but originally, I am from Sri Lanka. This year, I am the treasurer for the Warwick Sri Lankan Society and part of the Women’s Development Squad for Warwick Table Tennis Club. Last year, I was also a flautist in Warwick Woodwind Orchestra and attended various events held by other societies (e.g., Warwick Finance Societies).
AA: Hello, I am Advait Arya, a first-year accounting and finance student. I am from Abu Dhabi. I am a part of the Warwick India Forum, Warwick Entrepreneurs and Warwick Hedge Fund Society.
MH: Hello, I am Marina, a second year studying Global Sustainable Development(GSD) and Business. I am a part of Enactus Warwick and the GSD society!
VN: Hey, I am Vidhi Nayyar, a first-year BSc Management student from India. I am a fresher’s representative for events for Warwick Women Careers Society, the head of marketing for the ESG society, a student consultant for Enactus, the treasurer for Improv society and a member of the debating society. WT: Hi, I am Will (William Tang), a first-year BSc Economics student from High Wycombe. I am involved in Dodgeball and the incoming social secretary for Jiu Jitsu. I play Badminton and do Climbing. I am involved in the Economics, Finance, Northern, Cheese & Chocolate, and Jazz societies.
What has been your favourite memory/ experience from being part of a society/club?
AT: I would say just meeting so many new people at any event is the best thing about being part of a society or sports club. I have made some of my closest friends from society events! My favourite experience would be a Sri Lankan event I was part of organising in term 1, where we invited lots of Sri Lankan societies from across the UK for a cricket tournament in the sports hub and then a baila night in Coventry. We had about 400 students come to Warwick, and overall it was an amazing day!
AA: My favourite experience was organising Astitva, the flagship event of Warwick India Forum, where we invited eminent Indian speakers to interact with students and motivate them. We had a diverse line of speakers, from comedians and actors to business moguls such as the billionaire businessman Surinder Arora.
MH: I just really enjoy the social side of societies and how rewarding they are.
VN: My favourite memory has definitely been being a part of the shows that we host at improv – the adrenaline, the excitement and the overall energy is just so incredible.
WT: The first time I played for Team Warwick as a part of the Opens for Dodgeball. I don’t consider myself to be a great dodgeball player, but it was still such a rewarding experience to play for the University, as part of a team.
How do you balance societies and sports clubs with academics?
AT: University does really give you a lot of time and flexibility to do whatever you want. That’s something I found was quite different from my time at sixth form. Despite also going home often, I would say if you’re organised, then you’ll be able to allocate time to studies and extracurricular activities. It’s important to not just fully focus on studies 24/7, as I would find it very boring if not for my societies! Especially in the first year, I would recommend going to as many societies/sports clubs as you like because in 2nd year/3rd year, there will be a lot more focus on academics, so use that opportunity to your advantage! AA: I would say that my course isn’t extremely demanding. Therefore, balancing societies with academics and social life during term time is easy. I prioritise academics during the exam season.
MH: I balance societies and academics by knowing how to separate my social life from academics. I try to complete my coursework during the day and participate in society events in the evening.
VN: Luckily, I don’t do a very rigorous course, so this allows me to finish all my academic work for the week on a single day. Then I am left with time throughout the week to dedicate to societies and other activities.
WT: Obviously if I have an important assignment/test coming up, I prioritise that, but if not, then I would generally prioritise sports/ social activities, especially since my first year doesn’t count! I think you might as well maximise your university experience whilst you still can.
What has been your biggest takeaway from being a part of a society?
AT: My biggest takeaway would be to go to events with an open mind, and don’t be shy to go up and talk to people. Obviously, there will be societies you like/ones you don’t etc., but use the first year as a chance to try out as many things as you can so you can find what really interests you! Warwick is great because everyone is on one massive campus, making it much easier to meet new students and find common interests. Even from just going up and saying hi to people, I have made really close friends in my societies.
AA: My main takeaway from being a part of societies has been being a part of a team and learning how to organise events. I have also enhanced my communication and organisation skills.
MH: Being a part of a society means belonging to a community with a similar interest. Societies are extremely fun and enriching!
VN: My biggest takeaway has definitely been learning to cooperate and work with people who come from extremely different backgrounds than mine. I have learnt that dealing with clashing opinions improves ideas and makes them well thought out. WT: Don’t turn down any opportunity if you don’t have a good reason (e.g., an important assignment). Even if it may be daunting (for example, going to a taster session for a sport that is entirely new to you or your first BUCS meet), it is so rewarding once you are actually there and get through it. It
will only (most likely) leave you craving for more. This is in contrast with you most likely feeling disappointed in yourself if you don’t. You only live life once!
What advice would you give to someone planning to join a society/club or someone who is thinking of applying for an executive position at a society?
AT: Join anything you’re interested in! You’re not going to know if you’ll like it until you try, so my biggest advice is to go for it. When I started university, I went to a lot of society events by myself (in which I was very nervous going alone). Still, every single time I would meet so many people similar to me and forget that I came by myself! A lot of sports clubs have free tasters at the start of every term. If you’re interested in picking up a new sport, then I would definitely recommend this! In terms of applying for executive positions, definitely go for something you would feel like you would enjoy. Don’t just do it for the CV. Find a society and position that you truly want to do, as it will involve a lot of time and effort throughout the year. That being said, I would recommend taking up an executive position, as it’s very fun actually being in charge of a society that you love being in!
AA: I would say definitely apply to different societies, and don’t be scared. Also, don’t be dejected by rejections from societies. There are enough societies on campus. Societies are a great way to meet new people, make friends, and eventually your society becomes like your family. So make the most of the opportunities available at Warwick! Furthermore, societies are a great way to develop interpersonal skills.
MH: Join a society where you feel comfortable and in which you are interested. Do not be scared to join societies!
VN: My advice would be to honestly just go for it! It may seem scary and intimidating, but at the end of the day, you regret more of the things you don’t do than the things you do. Societies are a great way to be more social, make more friends and further your interests so if you’re even a tiny bit inclined, give it a go. At the same time, make sure you don’t overcommit and still keep time for yourself and your academic duties. WT: I think, similar to my previous answer, I would encourage you to go to as many taster sessions as you can during fresher week, then pick the clubs you most like. You can never truly know whether you would like a sports club if you’ve never experienced it before (for example, I never thought I would be doing Jiu Jitsu before university, and now I’m an executive member for it next year!). In my experience, joining a sports club is not only about whether you like the sport itself but also about other factors such as the friendliness of the club or how much you like their social events. Regarding applying for executive positions, I think talking to current executive members is incredibly helpful.
Thank you, Aarathy, Advait, Marina, Vidhi and Will, for your time! I hope you enjoyed reading about their experiences and that this motivates you to join a society or sports club on campus.
If you enjoyed reading this blog and want to learn how to manage your extracurricular activities along with your social life and academics, read these interesting blogs on balancing work and social life at university and staying productive.
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