Starting Uni is such an adrenaline-pumping experience. For me, leaving that high School bubble and venturing into a uni lifestyle was a big step into adulthood and independence. Not only are you finding like-minded people with similar interests, but you’re meeting so many people with a variety of different life experiences. Some of these people will become your lifelong friends and potentially set up a solid network that can help boost your career.
Finding these people can be a bit difficult outside of classes. And even then, opportunities to talk to your fellow classmates can be limited within lectures.
That’s where societies at uni come in. Societies at Uni are specialised clubs where you can find like-minded people who share a similar hobby or career goal in mind. Joining a society can help you refine your talents or provide you with some great networking opportunities.
Joining a society can feel overwhelming, especially if your schedule at Uni is hectic or spread out over the week. It can also be tough to make it to campus for events if you live far away as well or have work commitments.
“It’s hard, not gonna lie, never mind trying to squeeze work into there as well,” says Chandra Altoff, the President of Victoria University’s Student Union.
“VU’s block model makes it a little easier because the study pace is reasonable, which leaves time for other things.”
It can be tough to remember, but your years at university should be about more than just stressing about assignments and whether you can wear sweatpants to your 8:30 am class. For Chandra, taking time to relax plays a big part when it comes to succeeding at Uni as well.
“I think remembering that studying is not the be-all and end-all, you should be having a break and relaxing and doing something with your free time that feeds you, literally or figuratively. You have to have fun! Life is too short!”
Nardo Wai was just a first-year student when they joined EnactusVU, a society that focuses on developing students’ leadership and entrepreneurship skills by working on projects that focus on sustainability.
“Joining a society allows me to connect with people outside my study discipline and diverse backgrounds. I also learnt more about the local communities when I participated in events and activities. More importantly, I have greatly extended my social and professional networks through collaborations with university staff, talented students and experts from the industry.”
When it comes to finding time to participate in activities, Nardo finds that in their experience, most societies will accommodate the schedules of students.
“Usually, the activities we would plan ahead and try to avoid clashing with the class schedule. Aside from that, club activities can be flexible and are sometimes held online. We also vote to see which date and time would be most available for the members.”
Societies don’t always have to strictly be about career growth or personal development. The opportunity to start a society or club is available to anyone – so long as you have members keen on joining. Nardo points out that some previous networking in other societies might help you with finding those like-minded people first, however.
“You can start a new club with like-minded people! I know there are some requirements to start a new club, for example, the minimum amount of members. So it is still an excellent start to be involved in other clubs/ societies first, to meet people who share the same interests as you, and to know the basics of running a club from experienced.”
If you’re looking to start your own society, you can ask the many Officers from Student Life at Victoria University, who will help you with starting up your own society or club.
But what happens when you join a society? When you first join up, you’ll be invited to events through email or whatever channels your society uses to reach its members.
For the Student Union, which holds some of the biggest events at Victoria University, Chandra’s team is all over arranging events.
“Our Office Bearers run regular events and opportunities to meet other students that are both fun and educational resume builders like Responsible Service of Alcohol, Barista, First Aid and Mental Health First Aid.”
“We have an Annual Ball to celebrate the year, as well as running festivals regularly through the year with food trucks, resources and activities, like Therapy Dogs during ‘Respect and Empathy Week’. ‘Queernival’ is our annual LGBTQIA+ Extravaganza, and we help support all the offices to run events and activities that celebrate and highlight every group of our student base.”
“We also will be running a Food Pantry, with a base at Footscray Park Campus and roving pantries throughout the year to tackle food insecurity for students. That’s just our external activities, the Student Union is regularly working and meeting with the University to ensure that student’s voices are heard and recognised!”
EnactusVU focused on developing students’ leadership and entrepreneurship skills by implementing sustainable projects that improve our community.
“At the moment, we are working on projects that recycle plastic bottle caps on campus and repurposes them into new products to reduce plastic waste. At the same time, we are running an edible garden on campus to produce fresh ingredients for cooking and recycle food waste to regenerate the soil.”
These projects help promote a sustainable lifestyle and at the same time make profits in the process as a business.”
For eager students wanting to dive in and be active in societies – whether to boost your resume or flex your passion for what the club specialises in – you can definitely consider involving yourself in a leadership position within your society.
“Being involved in society leadership helps develop your networking and interpersonal skills like time management, effective teamwork and communication skills. Ultimately, this will improve your employability skill.”
“But the most important thing is to enjoy your university life, make great memories and share the moments with your new-found friends and peers”
Victoria University is taking applications to start studying in 2023 right now. If you’re keen to start the next journey in life, click here!
If you’d also like to see what societies and clubs are available at Victoria University click here.Image: Community