Socialising through sports societies
Since starting university, a big difference I noticed between that and school was the interactions between ‘year groups’. While at school, it seemed natural to fall into a friendship group made entirely of people your own year but at university it really isn’t the case. While of course you interact with people in your own academic year still at university- coursemates and flatmates are generally all your age- if you join a sports club you are exposed to a whole range of people at various stages in their degrees.
I joined Mixed Netball in first year, and through that I became really close with a lot of people who were in second, third or final year. Having friends who not only knew exactly what first year was like, but also managed to actually survive it was invaluable; even though most of them didn’t do my course, they still managed to offer invaluable advice- anything from when to start looking for second year housing to how to survive term three stress.
This trend carried on into second year when again the majority of my friends were finalists. Watching them do their dissertations and handle final year troubles allowed me to subconsciously absorb a set of dos and don’ts that I’ve found useful now I’m in final year. Of course I also became good friends with the new netball members, offering advice to first years whenever I could (even if it was of the “here’s what not to do” nature).
Meeting new people like this is part of the reason why I have loved being a member of a sports club at university; it’s a nice change to interact with people with such varied life experiences, from postgraduate students returning to university to do a masters to finalists just back from a year abroad.
The only drawback, of course, being when they graduate.
The majority of my group of friends in Mixed netball graduated in summer last year, and have moved on to bigger and better things all over the country. I’m not sure whether they have it worse living in the Real World with Adult Responsibilities, or if I have it worse when I have to pull an all nighter for my deadline the next day, but either way even now they’ve graduated they’re still opening my eyes to a world of life experiences that I still have to look forward to (like paying tax and the morning commute), so it’s making the idea of graduating at least a tiny bit less scary. If they can do it, so can I.. right?