As a student, I didn't become a part of any society, and this is genuinely one of my biggest regrets. I can see through my friends and other people who did join, that the experiences they gained have truly set them apart and helped their CVs to stand out. Nevertheless, joining a society isn 't the only way in which students can gain experience that will serve them well after graduation. During my second year of university, I applied and was accepted on to the SPEED/EFS scheme, which is my university's scheme to help start-up businesses. The programme required giving up every Wednesday, in exchange for business training, networking, advice, presentations and much more. I gained so much from this experience that whilst I didn't join any society, I have still gained similar experience and advantages that a society might have given me.
One of the first benefits to joining this programme was a new set of friends and acquaintances, people who I still contact today for advice or help. Everybody talks about the benefits of meeting new people, but meeting new people who you definitely have something in common with is even better. Be it a dance society, a marketing society or a Quidditch society, you are all there for the same reason and so introductions are far easier.
Thinking back to my time on the SPEED/EFS scheme and comparing it to my friends stories of working for the student radio or design society, it is clear that we all have something in common- a new found confidence. The actors feel more comfortable acting, the sports teams revel in their glorious moments and I can now speak publicly with ease. As you pass through your society life, you'll be pushed further than you've been pushed before; you 'll find yourself trying new things and learning to take responsibility. These are precisely the qualities that an employer will be looking for, and their As value goes beyond just that.. On my scheme, I had to prepare presentations again and again, I had to pitch ideas and stand in front of people almost every week. As a result of this, I am extremely well prepared for assessed presentations in my lectures, and the skills and confidence I have gained will not only add value to my CV, they have also added value to me and improved my whole university experience. It's amazing how much these things interlink.
The final benefit is that if, for example, someone who wants a career in law, joins the law society, they have the chance to practise their discipline, and we all know practise makes perfect. Being able to try out the things that might one day make up your career is such a valuable experience that as I write this, I regret even more that I didn't join a society, as well as the SPEED/EFS scheme.
In conclusion, to make yourself stand out in a crowd of fellow graduates, add a history of experience within a society, initiative to take responsibility and the guts to take a risk and put yourself out there. This shows you are an exceptional and desirable potential employee.
If I asked you whether you'd rather have fun at university or not, you would reply, "Fun please!". Whether it be for your own enjoyment or to hone your skills ready to take your chosen industry by storm, joining a society can only offer you benefits. If after trying it, you don't like it, the worst that can happen is that you didn't enjoy yourself. If you don't try, you may find yourself sitting writing a blog a year later, filled with regret.
And don't try to tell me there is no society that's right for you. If you find yourself in such a situation, create your own, take a senior role and watch your CV glow!
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