Freshers Guide To: Sports and Societies

PUBLISHED 05-June-2020 · UPDATED 21-July-2020

So, you’re embarking on your first year at university? 

I’m here to tell you everything you need to know about sports and societies. Firstly, what’s the difference? Well, a sport is considered ‘varsity’ and includes team sports like rugby, lacrosse and even some rogue activities like golf.  A society is more like a social club, and it includes things like performing arts, Christian union and other less traditional sports like surfing and rock climbing. 

My first tip is to make the most of your freshers fair. This is a great opportunity to be a complete social butterfly and meet as many sports and societies as you like. Think of it like speed dating, but with activities instead of lonely singles. In fact, you might even meet a ‘lonely single’; that’s how I met my ex-boyfriend… ANYWAY. Every sport and society will have a little stand to meet them, sign up for info and probably grab a freebie like a sweetie. I always judge clubs on their level of freebie – one of my most memorable has to be the climbing club handing out free condoms to keep you safe in the bedroom like how the club keep you safe on the rock. Innovative. Aside from clubs and societies, you can also get freebies from companies like Amazon, Spotify or Lucozade. 

Given, sometimes the freebies are absolutely useless like a lanyard from a company you don’t even care about but my advice is make the most of it and grab it all. You’ll never know if it could come in handy!

Back to sports and societies. 

If you’re thinking about joining a sport – here are the need-to-knows. Firstly, joining a varsity sport at university is a massive commitment of time. You will probably have mandatory training several times a week and if you don’t show up you won’t be able to play in matches and will deffo get left out of social activities.

The second thing to consider is the possible financial commitment of joining a sport. In some teams the cost of joining can be hundreds of pounds for things like equipment/kit/insurance. Uniform may not be included in this costing and is expected in addition to this cost! In the end it is probably worth the investment to stay fit, meet new friends and have fun but I’m just advising that you save some of your money for this and don’t spend it all on VKs during freshers fortnight. At least if you’re part of a varsity sport, you can strut around campus in your fancy kit and like a wannabe BNOC (big name on campus). 

People who are part of varsity sports often make great friendships with their team-mates – probably partly due to the sheer amount of time you spend together both playing and partying and partly thanks to the putrid initiations. Going back to partying, every Wednesday you have a fancy dress social to celebrate or commiserate the outcome of your match. Every sports team goes to the same club and each has their own costume theme – for instance: pyjamas, camo or the classic Hawaiian. Prepare for lots of VKs, banter and losing your friends in the club. It’s ok though as you always seem to run into someone else you know, after all anyone who’s anyone goes out on a Wednesday night.

If you’re thinking of joining a society – let me tell you a bit about them. Firstly, there’s every single society you can imagine. From LARP (Live Action Role Play) to African and Caribbean society, Snowsports to Cocktail society. Also, if you don’t find a society you like you can quite easily form a new one. They are definitely less expensive to join than a varsity sport, but you also get less out of them as there aren’t as many opportunities to meet. For me, I love the lack of commitment societies require, meaning if you’ve got a tricky assignment you can skip that week’s meeting. Sometimes these societies also have night-out socials on Wednesdays or even host their own socials separately. I’m part of the Bournemouth University Snowriders and the society is so big that they’re sponsored by a nightclub and have their own private socials at the venue, and have huge international trips.

During your time at university, you aren’t making the most of it if you don’t join a sport or society in my opinion. Not only are they great for the CV, but they are also a way to meet people outside of your usual group and find your passion. My advice is try as many taster sessions as possible at the start of university and see which fit your vibes. And, if your university is only online this September, maybe try joining a club which you can do virtually. I know the yoga society at my Uni have been running Zoom sessions for some self-isolation zen! How lush. 

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