It’s important to remember that although you are at university to work hard and get a good degree, you are also there to create memories and experience new things. When I first started at LSE, a second year told me that it was all the extra stuff at LSE that made her university experience rewarding and fulfilling. AKA, it’s important to not simply just focus on academics (but this is not me telling you to ignore your essential readings). University is about getting a rounded experience and it’s a fantastic time to dedicate more time to your hobbies or try something new. LSE has an incredibly large and diverse range of societies that can be found on the Student Union website. Even if you don’t find something that you like, you’re always welcome to start a society yourself. Fingers crossed for a Harry Potter Society next year!
Here’s nine reasons why joining a society can enrich your university experience:
- You make new friends – Most people you encounter from LSE are likely to be on your course. Joining societies allows you to meet people who share similar interests from different courses. It’s a good way to meet people you generally wouldn’t just run into. I know a few people who met their future flatmates through societies, so who knows, you could too!
- You learn something new – Societies are very welcoming to beginners and generally take the time to ease you in. Do something you’ve never done before and learn how to do it to a high standard in the society. This could range from MUN to debating to playing Mah-jong to learning how to make cocktails.
- You get valuable career exposure – There are quite a few career related societies at LSE such as the Consulting Society and the Advertising, Marketing and PR Society. These societies make an effort to expose members to the relevant industries through a variety of means that include workshops. They also advertise potential work experience opportunities as well such as student led consulting projects.
- You get to attend events – Most societies hold events that can range from speaker panels to fundraisers which helps improve your knowledge regarding issues related to and not related to your degree. There are many events every week and there’s no way you can attend them all. However, joining societies that peak your interest mean that you can attend events that will benefit you in terms of learning skills or learning about a particular topic. Not all events are serious and career focused – for Awareness week, the UN Society held a fun fundraiser called Challenge for Charity which required participants to engage in physical and mental challenges for prizes.
- You can commit as much or little as you want – Societies are very flexible which means that you can dedicate as much or little time as you want. This means that if you have a particularly busy week with lots of essays due, you can take a break and come back when you have more free time.
- Join the committee – I have loved being an Outreach Officer for the UN Society. I have organised fundraising events and a speaker panel which I am very proud of. It’s also a lot of fun and I’ve not only learned valuable skills but being in the committee has also allowed me to some amazing people.
- You learn to overcome challenges and be more resilient – Particularly, if you’re on the committee and have to organise events, you will face setbacks and hurdles you need to overcome. But this helps improve your problem solving skills and your ability to face challenges head on. These are definitely life skills that will last.
- You get physically fit – LSE has some incredible sports societies. Whether you like dance or tennis or pole dancing, LSE has got it all. This is a really good way to keep up your fitness in a social atmosphere. Most teams attend competitions as well if you want to participate on a competition level although they also offer leisure membership.
- It’s fun! – Ultimately, you join a society to have fun. Societies are a break from academic work and should be something you want to do in your free time because you enjoy it. They are an essential part of student life and your university experience. The best part is that you can choose to join just one society you are really passionate about or you can join ten – it’s completely up to you.