Societies at The University of Manchester

by | Mar 13, 2024 | Geography and Global Development, Undergraduate | 0 comments

Before coming to university, so many people on TikTok said that societies are one of the best ways to make friends. I think this is definitely true! Whichever you join, you will always meet someone who has similar interests or personality traits to you. My main friend group all happened to be in my accommodation, but I have made great friendships in the societies that I’ve joined.

Since arriving at uni, I’ve joined both the athletics club and dance society for street dance. I’m not a fan of the gym, so sports societies are a great alternative. Staying active is so important for your physical and mental wellbeing. Paying the membership motivates me to be consistent, but you don’t always have to. And don’t worry about your skill level – you can always join as a beginner, and you won’t be the only one. For me, I hadn’t run track since year 8, and even then, not competitively. I was nervous at first, but I found that most people are the same and are training to improve. Most sports societies give you the opportunity to compete at BUCS – think university Olympics – so you can set goals for yourself to reach this level. Honestly, there is every sport imaginable (even competitive dodgeball!) so you’ll find something to suit you. Wednesdays are sports nights at universities across the country, so if you’re into clubbing, you might end up being a regular at 256 down Wilmslow Road with a new costume every week! Most societies have non-drinking events too.

Nowadays, achieving a First-Class degree doesn’t even guarantee you a job in the future (scary, right?). You might need to get work experience or do an internship to be attractive to employers. There are course-specific societies (which are open to all) which have talks from 3rd year students who give useful advice. For example, I’ve attended an IBFE soc meeting about spring weeks and summer internships – I don’t study this course, but it was very useful to see what I need to do to get ahead. There are also opportunities to take on leadership roles for societies in 2nd year, such as Chair, Treasurer, and many others. You can even create your own society! You can gain valuable skills that are assets to your CV. Many societies host guest lectures, where leaders in a field can share their industry knowledge and you can learn to network and build connections.

For most people, coming to university is a whole new world, and it is so easy to get overwhelmed with readings and deadlines. Societies can just be a nice break to chill and unwind. It’s important to know how to compartmentalise your life so that you don’t get too stressed, and I find that the routine of attending society events helps. Uni isn’t just about grades; you can also gain life experience and grow passions that might even help you get a job in the future.

Societies are a good way to build a community at university. Joining cultural and nationality-based societies will help you feel at home, especially if you’re an international student. Religious societies are a good way to strengthen your faith. I plan to start attending the Christian Union’s weekly praise and worship so that I can engage in fellowship with other Believers.

If you look at UoM’s Student’s Union page, you can find a list of all the societies – there are probably hundreds so it might take a while. There is literally a society for everything (even for escape room enthusiasts) so you’ll never get bored.

Written by Chi-Chi, current BSc Global Development student at The University of Manchester