Choosing your extra-curriculars
My first year was in the midst of Covid, which meant that we didn’t really have a Societies Fair or Sports Fair in the same way. I think they were online, but we had less of an opportunity to try out different societies.
This year, however, my friends and I have visited the Societies Fair to see what we’d missed out on, and to see whether there was anything we wanted to start in second year. It was amazing to have a ‘proper’ Freshers experience, wandering around the Fair on the piazza – but I realised that it probably would be quite overwhelming for any fresher. There are so many societies, opportunities and people, that it can be difficult to work out who to talk to or what to try.
I’ve never seen campus quite so busy and full of life – and whilst it’s super exciting, it can make it difficult to know exactly what you should be doing. It would be easy to over-commit to multiple societies, because so many look so enjoyable. I’m desperately trying not to get caught up in the excitement of Freshers’ Week and end up committed to too many things, so I’ve laid out a few basic principles to stick to as I plan my year. Maybe you could consider doing the same!
Firstly, I’ve decided to commit to two societies this year as a maximum. Some people say three is the maximum, but for me, this would be a stretch. I volunteer on the side of university, and if I was also committed to three societies, I don’t think I’d have any time to sleep.
Secondly, I’ve decided to commit to one academic society and one non-academic society. The first, of course, being Linguistics Society, and the second being undecided. I was a part of LingSoc last year and I’m a part of this year’s Exec, so LingSoc is a nice way to interact with the Linguistics Community and build new friendships within my degree. However, I’ve also tried out a couple of new societies this week, like Anti-Sexism and Mind Aware, to work out which non-academic society I’d like to spend some spare time with.
Thirdly, I’ve been constantly reminding myself that extra commitments don’t just come in the shape of societies. There’s volunteer work, extra opportunities within the degree, exercise, socialising etc – and you have to leave time for this. I could quite easily block my entire timetable out with scheduled activities for the next year, but flexibility is really important.
That said, I’d recommend trying out a few of the taster events with societies. This week, I’ve attended some taster sessions to see if I fit in with the society, and it’s really helpful to meet people and to work out who you’d like to spend more time with. It seems to me that the people at the society are more important than whatever it is that the society actually does, when deciding what to join.
Finally, remember that you will also need down-time. Whether that’s going on a walk on your own or facetiming old friends, you will need some time to recharge. Learning to balance your schedule takes time and practise, but it’s a skill worth learning – and it will ultimately make your time at Warwick more enjoyable.