Being part of a society – What it means to me

My personal journey with the University’s societies began during welcome week when I first joined Derby. I was invited to join the Christian Union. I was welcomed by other student members immediately and encouraged to engage and tell them a bit about my own background and how I became a Christian.

Since becoming a member of the Christian Union I have made new friends, improved my people skills and developed a greater sense of purpose within the wider community. Being a sociable Christian myself, it is a privilege to meet like-minded students outside the classroom where I feel comfortable to share my hopes and concerns. Everyone I have met in the society has been friendly, compassionate and has expressed their positive perspectives on life.

I intend to be a part of Christian Union for the duration of my student life. I’m confident that I’ll continue to benefit greatly from the various opportunities available to me and that the Union will help me have a positive impact on my local community.

Benefits of being a part of a society

Being part of a society provides many different benefits; not only do you make new friends, but you have the opportunity to take part in activities that can boost your self-esteem and provide a sense of value within the wider community. Society membership gives students a balance of coursework and social life throughout their university experience.

Since being a part of the Christian Union I have been involved in weekly fellowship meetings with other students which involve prayer, reflection and social interaction. I have been presented with opportunities to lead these group meetings, which have helped to develop my leadership, communication and organisation skills.

As part of the Christian Union I have also attended Thursday evening prayer and worship services at One Friar Gate Square, our Law site. These services have helped me socialise with other students and take part in fun activities outside of class lectures. Being a naturally outgoing and sociable person is a bonus, but even if you are not you will always find a place in a society that meets your personal needs.

Advice to students about joining a society

When choosing to join a society it’s important to understand why exactly you want to be a part of that society. For me, there were multiple reasons. I was not only excited about making new friends, but I also wanted to be part of a community where I could embrace and appreciate playing a small but significant role supporting others socially and spiritually, whilst also improving my own transferable skills.

If you have a passion for a specific job or subject area it is a good idea to choose a society that is closely related to it. This will provide opportunities for developing new skills in your area of interest, which is a fantastic way to strengthen your CV. When you enjoy a particular job or role it is much easier to commit yourself to it long-term and you’ll be even more enthusiastic about improving your understanding.

It may seem obvious, but it is important to look closely at your own weekly schedule and be sure that you have enough time in the week to take part in the social activities that come with being a part of a society – it’s very easy to sign up to new opportunities while over-estimating your own capacity to balance them with your existing schedule. It is always a good idea to look at the activities in your week and find out where you could perhaps free up more time for the social activities you really want to participate in.

University life is not all about academic performance – it’s also about having the freedom for recreation and finding a place within a society that reaches to the very core of who you are. There’s no better place to start your personal development than in a society at the University of Derby. Have a look at the societies on offer and if there’s something you’re interested in then try it out – I’m sure you won’t regret it!

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