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Why Join A Sports Society At University?

University is one of the most exciting times in a person’s life. It opens doors to new experiences, creates lifelong friendships, and gives people brand new perspectives and skills. Perhaps where this is most personified is the involvement students can have in sports societies.   

Over 180 universities compete in 52 varying sports in what is known as BUCS (British Universities and College sports). Although BUCS is one of the biggest organisers of university sports, universities also have societies for sports that are not featured as parts of BUCS-recognised sports that students have created themselves. Essentially there’s something for everyone!  

Although going to that first session or social event can be daunting, there is so much to be gained from being part of society. Here is a look at some of the benefits students can gain from joining a society. 

Stay fit and healthy 

A typical university student’s day-to-day isn’t necessarily the healthiest lifestyle, especially as you’re getting to grips with doing your own cooking. For many students, this is the first time away from home and mastering the art of pasta can take at least a term to get right. On top of that, coming in at 5 am from the 3rd night out in a row, covered in beer stains and whatever the chippie has to offer, doesn’t scream health. Therefore, it is important to find something to counteract the uni antics and promote some kind of healthy living.  

Finding a sport that you enjoy can be a great way of exercising, especially for people who find themselves bored at the gym or running laps of the park. Sports can take away the feeling of having to exercise and replace it with a fun activity that doesn’t feel like a chore. As you practise, naturally your fitness levels will improve to meet the sport’s demands and the first step in counteracting those boozy nights will be taken.  

As you become more invested in your sport, the competitive state of mind and desire to get better will start to appear. Suddenly those gym sessions start to become enjoyable as you realise, you’re not just working out for the sake of working out. Instead, you’re doing it to take your game to the next level.  

Alternatively, that competitive instinct may never come and you’re simply glad to be doing something you enjoy. You’ll start to notice small improvements in your fitness levels and suddenly you’re not out of breath on the morning walk to lectures or running for the bus. 

Social 

Especially at the start of university, it can sometimes feel difficult to make friends. It can be hard to speak to people during lectures and you’re wondering if you’re ever actually going to meet up again with the 100 people that gave you their socials in fresher’s week.   

This is where societies come in to fill the potential social void. Maybe you already have an idea of what sport you would like to get involved with but it might be the case that you’re unsure where to even start looking. Universities solve this dilemma by hosting a freshers’ society fair. This is a great opportunity to find a sport that suits you, speak to the society leaders, and sign up for taster sessions.  

From there, a range of opportunities opens up to create friendships. Firstly, you will be able to meet similarly minded people weekly at training and possibly competition. As you spend the weeks together learning and improving in your sport you will naturally start to form bonds and build friendships.  

Outside of the sport itself, societies are known for hosting social events. A typical university tradition is to attend the weekly sports night. This is where all the university societies and sports teams get together and have a night out. For people that aren’t so into drinking, societies will also host meals, watch sports events, and do other activities.   

Learn a new skill 

The main reason for going to university is to educate yourself and grow your knowledge in areas you feel passionate about. However, this doesn’t only apply to academics. University is a great time to learn a new set of skills or sport.   

Maybe you’ve watched a game of ultimate frisbee or have always wanted to try your hand at lacrosse. Whatever the sport may be, the university is the best place to pick it up and have a go. A common fear for people when learning a new sport is that they can’t participate as they’re not good enough. This is the same position many students find themselves in and for most societies, the aim is not to be elite but instead provide a fun safe space for students to learn new skills.  

Not only will participating in sport give you improved physical skills and attributes but also improve a person’s mental qualities. Participation in sports helps to develop qualities such as teamwork, leadership, and self-discipline, all of which can be transferred into working life. 

Build confidence 

Perhaps the most important benefit on the list for personal growth is the increase in confidence you’ll gain from your chosen society.   

You start week one barely able to complete the session. The fitness is too hard and you just don’t quite understand what the coach is telling you to do. You enjoy week 2 but it’s more of the same, it feels like you’re never going to get the hang of it. By week 5 though you’re starting to notice you’re not actually that tired and that skill that seemed impossible is pretty easy now. In seeing these fitness and skill increases, your confidence will begin to progress.  

Alongside the physical, you’re really starting to look forward to the social events and you’ve found a group of people you’re enjoying spending time with. These newfound friends and the social scene also help to boost your confidence. The confidence that you gain from sports will be transferable in helping you in everyday life. This can range from feeling more able to speak to people or taking the first steps in enquiring about that dream job. 

Employability 

Whilst there aren’t a lot of qualifications going for joining a sports society, it is a great thing to have on a CV. By showing your sporting interests to employers, you are demonstrating a level of dedication to being successful in something that you believe to be important.  

Furthermore, it can show off skills that jobs may require. For example, if a job is looking for people that ‘work well under pressure, you could take the opportunity to demonstrate how you have displayed these transferable skills in your sport.  

It might be the case that at some point in your university career you take on a role of responsibility in the society. This is another great opportunity to demonstrate some of the skills you have that employers are looking for. This shows your capability to take on responsibility and demonstrate skills such as leadership, time management, and discipline. 

Needed break from studying 

Notoriously, university can be challenging and at times incredibly stressful. Therefore, it is important to have healthy outlets to get rid of the stress and provide a fresh perspective. Sport can be used as a rewarding activity during the week that helps you study effectively knowing you’ve got an activity to look forward to.  

Sport works as an excellent distraction from academic problems and even helps you to feel better by altering the chemicals in your brain. Sport allows us for a couple of hours a week, to put all of our focus into the task at hand and forgot about that hefty piece of coursework that’s due in two days or that presentation coming up. As well as this, exercise releases serotonin or what is known as the ‘feel good’ hormone that quite literally does what it’s named; make us feel good as well as helping to stabilise our mood.  

Another great distraction is the social aspects of societies, where you can go and chill with your friends and forget about your responsibilities and what seems like the never-ending stream of work. 

In summary, sports societies are a great opportunity for self-development and a welcome break from work life. Take your time when finding the best one for you. Explore all of your options and attend all the taster sessions you can to find a society that you enjoy and want to improve in.


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