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University societies, clubs and sports

University societies, clubs and sportsUniversity sports clubs and university societies are fun aspects of your university life that are fundamental to postgraduate life and are a great way to become closely involved with your university and settling in properly.

Studying a masters degree can mean a lot of self-motivated study and this can result in postgraduate students feeling a little disconnected from university life, which can have a negative effect on the overall postgraduate experience.

Joining in with some university clubs, sports and societies is a great way to prevent this from happening, adjust to life as a postgrad student, make new friends and discover new skills in the process.


Are sports and societies just for undergraduates?

A common perception is that university sports and societies are exclusively for undergraduate students. This is partly because during Freshers’ week, the new intake of undergrads are the main targets of all the sports clubs and societies, leaving postgrads feeling a little neglected.

In truth the sports and societies at UK universities are desperate for greater postgraduate involvement, and some universities will have certain sports and societies that are completely dedicated to postgraduate students. Joining a sports team or a society could really make a difference to your time at university and will ensure you are an active member of your university.

Enjoy a wide variety of university sports and societies

Different universities have different focuses on their sports and societies. Some will really promote the importance of these social activities, whilst others take a more laid-back approach. But even if your university doesn’t actively push their available activities, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t important and wherever you are studying there will be a wide variety of sports and societies that you can sign up for.

Whatever you are interested in, you will probably be able to find a sport or society for it. For example, if you want to develop your creative writing there will be societies for that. Do you have a real passion for wine? You will probably be able to find a wine-tasting society. There will also be some more unusual or eccentric societies that you may wish to join, for example, the University of Leeds has a Hummus Society! Plus, there will always be a wide variety of sports teams that you can join to improve your fitness and overall health.

Joining sports or societies as a postgraduate is a brilliant way to connect with like-minded people and could really enrich your student experience. Always remember that you don’t have to just join sports and societies that only relate to your postgraduate degree. You have complete freedom in choosing to join anything that interests you. You never know how joining a sport or society could indirectly aid your degree by helping you learn something such as a new skill that could really help you out, not to mention the potential for networking.

Key benefits of joining a university society

As a postgraduate student there are several key benefits to joining a university club or society.

Relaxation – getting away from your coursework or paid employment is a vital part of doing well in your postgraduate course. A postgraduate course is always going to be more intensive than an undergraduate one and spending good quality time away from your work means you'll be better able to refocus on your work when you return to it. It doesn't matter if it's an hour or a day away, the time your mind spends thinking about another activity will help you relax. If you join a sports society, then you'll get the added bonus of being able to sleep better and we should all know by now that a good night's sleep will help you work better the next day.

Networking – at university, networking and making friends can happen at the same time. If you are attending an institution like a law school or agricultural college, everyone you meet is going to be heading into a similar career path as yourself. This means that those buddies you make in the first week might become your career contacts of the future. Networking is a brilliant skill to develop, learning to make new friends as an adult is a lifelong skill that will help at work and outside of it. It's also ideal for improving your employability after your studies.

Transferable skills – if you get really involved with a university club or society, you're going to learn some great transferable skills. Committees need members and social groups need organisers. Learning how to organise events or transport your whole sports club to a fixture will give you valuable skills and working out how to get along with people you disagree with is another valuable skill for the workplace.

Free entertainment ­– if you've scrimped and saved to pay for your postgraduate course and you are trying to survive for a year or more when you are no longer in full-time employment, you'll appreciate low cost or even free entertainment provided by a university society.

How do you find out about university societies?

Discovering what sports and societies your university has to offer isn’t difficult. There will usually be a student fair at the beginning of the academic year where you can find out what’s on offer. Find out when this is taking place and head there to take a look at things you may be interested in.

Don’t worry if you are a January start date student and are starting your postgraduate course at the start of the actual year rather than the academic year, it will still be just as easy to get involved. Look at your university’s website or the student union’s website to find out what sports and societies there are.

Enhance your time at university

Joining sports and societies as a postgraduate is a brilliant thing to do. It can really help to enrich your experience as a postgraduate student, help you learn new skills, develop new interests and help you to stay involved.


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