How Societies Shaped my University Experience
As a 20-year-old fresher, starting uni slightly later than everyone else alongside working much of the week shackled by the restraints of retail, there’s no other way to say it than making friends was initially…hard. I didn’t reside in University halls so I couldn’t really build relationships organically. Confidence wise I was crippled by my own preconceptions and anxieties about starting something new anyway, let alone doing it completely on my lonesome! I put a protective guard up to shield myself from the realities of having to make new acquaintances. I wanted to make friends, but it scared me. I worried people would wonder why I’d come to uni when I did, I worried I wasn’t as clever as my peers who delivered the most intellectual and impressive of answers in seminars. And so for a few weeks, I struggled. Until, that is, I joined Fuse FM – the student radio station.
It was the Students’ Union that helped to connect me with the society that would not only settle me happily into university life, but also in turn to boost my boldness in personality. The society fair was an absolute must. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to go, and was reluctantly dragged along by a course-mate that would later end up as one of my dearest friends. There was stall after stall and friendly student after friendly student on hand to explain what their society offered and offer a lot they did – everything from a 90s Hip Hop Society to a Surf Society was on offer. Any interest, anything you’d always considered dabbling in, even things you didn’t think you wanted to do – the vast array of societies boasted possibilities of socialising alongside as engaging in enriching activities that seemed almost too good to be true. And yet one stuck with me more than the others. Fuse FM.
I’m an avid record-collector, and couple that with being a bit of an unashamed motormouth (as my mum would say, I could talk the hind leg off a donkey, though I doubt the logistics of this). Radio just all of a sudden seemed like a “Eureka!” moment. I’d be forced out of my comfort zone kicking and screaming. The thing with radio is that you’ve got to carry a show entirely with the sound of your own voice, so confidence is key. As soon as I joined Fuse FM I met with likeminded peers who loved music. But also, I was reunited with an old friend of mine who I didn’t even know attended the University – we decided to join together and create Bits N Bops With Mads & Neve, an hourly genre-based show in which we’d have a natter and a spin of our favourite tunes. It was a match made in musical heaven. Mads and I grew closer and closer. The team trained me by finetuning my speaking skills as well as helping me be a bit more concise in my expression, which has actually bled over into my academic work and helped me not ramble as much! My confidence by second semester was now at a point where I was speaking up more in seminars, making study groups and forming bonds with my course mates, and it even inspired me to start up my own extracurricular radio shows and podcasts. I now work on Redwall Radio, alto fm and Whaley FM doing solo shows and shows with Mads. I’m now considering a career in the long-term in radio, and I never did previously. Thanks to biting the bullet and joining a society, I enter my third year feeling as ready to take on anything as ever. First stop Fuse FM, next stop 6music, baby (that’s the best station, duh).