The freshers’ fairs this year are spread over two days, the 21st and 22nd September. Whether you’re a first year or any student looking to make this university year the most exciting yet, there’s nowhere better to start.
Societies can be roughly divided into two types, activities and course based. Course based societies are centred around certain academic schools and are a good way to get connections with older students who may have some advice for freshers, as well as socialising with your peers outside of lectures.
Other societies range from those that are mainly just fun, finding people with a similar background (or not!) to volunteering or learning new skills.
If you don’t know already, the societies fairs are a chance to meet members of the committee for certain societies (that is, the students who run them, usually as a passion project) and ask what it’s all about. You can sign up to mailing lists and you can pay your membership fees- but there’s no obligation to do so.
The first day features several course-based societies including journalism, history and maths. Freshers will also be able to connect with people from various regions of the world, from as close to Ireland with the Irish society to as far-flung as the Japanese society. It’s also a good chance to get involved with student media, as Gair Rhydd, Quench, CUTV and Xpress will all be present. Whilst the societies fair isn’t the place to join a sports club (that’s on Tuesday 20th, be sure to visit that as well!) you can choose a fun society such as Airsoft or Chess for that competitive camaraderie many crave.
On the Thursday, there’s a completely different set of societies for you to get involved with, and all of the students union officers (from disability to LGBT) will also be around to answer any questions that may be worrying freshers.
The geekiest and musically minded of us will have lots to choose from on Thursday as well, with clubs including Anime, Sci Fi and Wildlife all in attendance. For budding musicians and dancers you’ll have opportunities to meet groups such as Belly Dancing, the Purcell Singers and the Windband. There’s yet more course societies, from archaeology and chemistry to pharmacy and optometry. If you fancy flying the red flag you can meet up with the Labour Students and Socialist Students. If you prefer to see good done in the world without the politics, consider volunteering, with groups including Sexpression, Nightline and Coppafeel all around to get you doing good deeds.
Personally I recommend to all freshers to join their course societies to help you with your degree, as well as at least one sports club and one fun society to take the edge off when lectures are done for the day. And of course, come along visit us on the Gair Rhydd stand!