Societies were always going to be important to me. To have that support mechanism, knowing that you will be able to make friends and interact with people and also people that are more experienced than you are, it was really quite important when looking at places.
Before starting at Essex I researched societies on the University website. They had a really good section on what is available and what is coming up. Not just in terms of what the University is putting on but also what the societies are running. I also used the societies’ Facebook pages to just see what they are all like.
On the Tuesday of Welcome Week I went along to the Christian Union and jumped straight in. They had people on the Squares directing people down to the Multi-Faith Chaplaincy, it was quite a nice welcome. It can be daunting trying to negotiate your way round a new place and it is quite good to have people directing you down and making sure you were all right.
Societies, especially at Essex, are very diverse in the types of culture that are represented here. The highlight for me has been meeting those people that believe different things and enjoy different things.
Joining societies definitely improved my University experience. It was really good to make new friends off the course and who have different interests to the people you are studying with. It was really good from that perspective and for the activities they put on such as weekly meetings or meet ups on Saturdays or just going to the bar for a drink.
For anyone looking to join societies this year just go for it and go for it at the beginning . Don’t wait until you have settled in, jump straight in and get in there. They have got the people there who know what it is like to be a fresher and know what it is like to come here, to be somewhere new with loads of different people so they can help with that.
I don’t want to look back on my life and think I could have done that, I could have done this. Try your best at all times, go for whatever takes your fancy and then look back, like I am now doing, at the end of my degree, and think yeah, I made the most of it while I was here. ‘Cos it is not until you actually get to the end that you actually realise if I hadn’t done all of this, I’ve run out of time.
Essex is home. There is no other way to describe it now. I have got everything I need here, all my friends are here; the facilities are great here. It is definitely somewhere I feel safe and secure. My flat has got, despite being University accommodation, a homely feel to it. I walk through the door and I think I am home, I can relax.