For most people university is a time of learning, not just about your chosen course but about yourself. It gives you freedom and independence and a chance to start building the future you’ve always dreamed about. Joining a society or a sports team is one of the best ways to make the most of your time at university, and here’s why.
1. You can make friends and meet new people
I want to start with one of the most obvious reasons as to why sports and societies are so great – the social aspect.
Whether you get involved in your favourite sport or try a brand new one, you’re likely to see a change in your social life. Almost every society hosts regular socials; whether alcohol-based or sober, playing board games or watching movies, these are a great time to get to know like-minded people and make new friends.
Even if you don’t manage to get to all the socials, making time to go and hang out with a different group of people who maybe aren’t on your course or don’t live in your accommodation can have a positive impact.
I struggled to make friends on my course and it was only when I joined my university dance society that I started to form friendships I know will last forever, including my very best friend of two years.
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2. Improve your mental health
Luckily we are living in a changing society that recognises the importance of maintaining good mental health more and more.
Going to university can have a negative impact on your mental health. You can find yourself feeling lonely or lost, and during deadline season stress levels can go through the roof. Being a member of a society or sports team can help you when you feel your mental health start to decline.
It is well known that doing sport can be beneficial for both physical health and mental health. But it isn’t just sports teams that can help your mental health.
Having an escape from the pressures of deadlines, any reason to get you out of your flat or out of the library for an hour, to engage your brain in a different way and to take your mind off your work is so important for maintaining mental health.
3. Career prospects
One of the less obvious benefits to being an active member of a society or sports team is the impact this can have on your career prospects and employability.
Job interviews often require you to demonstrate different skills. Time management is a key skill in so many jobs, and if you can tell an employer that you were able to balance your university studies with being in the netball team or regularly participating in your political society then this can work in your favour.
But it goes further than that – if you want to work in sustainability, for example, then joining your university’s environmental society shows how passionate you are about the issue. That is the joy of university sports and societies – there is usually one for absolutely every interest; and if there isn’t, you can start one.
It isn’t always easy to step out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there by joining a society or sports team, but I honestly believe it is one of the best things that I have done at university, and my only regret is not joining sooner.
Read more: Eight of the weirdest university societies
If you need some inspiration for a New Year’s resolution, why not consider joining a society or a sports team? Student Natalie Read-Bone explains the benefits that it could bring