By Hannah Claridge

During my first year, I was insistent that I wouldn’t join a society, instead I would just stick to making friends with my flatmates and get on with uni.  Of course, everyone goes to university with assumptions about what it’s going to be like, who they’re going to be and what they’re going to do. However, you cannot really decide these things in advance. It’s more than likely, the better option is to just go with the flow and see what happens. [Not that you shouldn’t have some sort of plan maybe just arrive with fewer assumptions]. I ended up making friends with people in a completely different flat and accommodation to me, which surprised me. I wouldn’t change that though; they are now some of my closest friends. I am also – as you can tell by my writing this article – a member of a society.

I suppose the idea that I am attempting to demonstrate is that things do change. That seems to be a key aspect of university life – the fact that it is a period of significant changes. These changes are mainly good and for whatever reason, they may have happened you should attempt to embrace them. My university experience was full of changes, especially when you consider that the majority has been affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic. I would say also, that during freshers or rather my first year of university I might have been slightly reluctant to change – whether that was changing myself or what I do – particularly regarding what I wanted to get out of my university experience. However, as I have mentioned already, I think you need to welcome the changes that university brings, it helps you grow which is a significant theme during your first year.

It is important to state here that I didn’t join any society until my second year of university. During my first year, I did feel slightly reluctant to do anything. Not a lot of the societies really took my fancy and I assumed I would be happy enough making friends normally. This was alright until covid happened and I found myself unable to go out with my friends as much as I would have liked, especially during the second term when we were in another lockdown after Christmas. So, in an attempt to branch out and socialise a bit more I joined a society, and I am glad I did. If you had told me before I joined uni that I would be in a society or that I would volunteer for the history department then I would not have believed you. Not that these things are particularly impressive or shocking, plenty of people do the same, but I was adamant that I wouldn’t be involved in uni life in that way for whatever reason, probably some sort of superior attitude. I suppose I am trying to show that I have changed, and I do slightly regret that I didn’t allow these changes to happen sooner.

People say that you should regret the things you did and not the things you didn’t do. As I am now a member of a society and someone who gets involved in more [not a lot but more] volunteering I can now say that it was a regret that I didn’t do anything sooner. Admittedly, it can be hard to push yourself during your first year; I know I personally felt that I needed to get settled into the routine of university life. This routine, however, does not take long to pick up [a few weeks maybe] and I would advise getting yourself stuck in during your first year. I would say though to take one thing at a time and make sure that it is something you’re passionate about because it will make it worth it and be a lot more rewarding.

University provides you with such great opportunities and it is important to take them whilst you can, whether this be getting involved in a society, volunteering in your department, or doing some work experience. Not only does it help you to socialise with other like-minded people, but it also builds your ‘CV’ or your profile. To have a range of work experience or volunteering on your CV is a great thing, it demonstrates a willing and committed attitude and highlights the things you are passionate about. University is a great time to get these things under your belt whilst you still can before you properly enter ‘the working world’ and find you have a lot less time on your hands. Whether the volunteering or society you get involved in is linked to something you are invested in or if it is related to something you might consider doing in the future it is worth it.

My two years of university have gone by so quickly and I can assume that my third will be the same. I would hate to look back and think that I had wasted some of the opportunities that had been presented to me. They say that these years are your most formative ones and I definitely think that is true. So, make sure that you do everything you can or rather everything you want to. As cringe as it is, in the words of Andrew Marvell, ‘Seize the day’.


If you’d like to join a sport, society or take part in volunteering, please go to your Hull University Students’ Union (HUSU) website and click join in to see the list of your HUSU opportunities.