Welcome to our student-written blog series dedicated to supporting and empowering disabled students to progress and succeed at university.
Here, Alice Lundy, a student from Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU), shares her experiences, insights, and practical tips on making the most of the social opportunities while at university.
University has been the best time of my life. I believe that it’s largely down to the extra activities that I have been a part of that have made it. This blog will run through some top ways to make the most of social opportunities at university.
Receiving your acceptance letter is really exciting. Be sure to check if there is a university Facebook group. As a student who has been through it, joining the Facebook group was a great way to meet some people on my course.
Within these groups, often subgroups form based on the course you’re studying. It is an amazing way to build the foundations of friendship and make that first day less nerve-wracking. If there isn’t one already for your course, consider creating one.
Some universities even have groups that you can join with your future housemates. It’s a great way to meet the people you’re going to be living with for a year. It might even help you to settle in quicker.
- Freshers’ Week
You’ve probably seen some films where on the first day of uni people meet their friends for life. Whilst this can happen, there are opportunities to meet friends across your time at university.
Freshers’ week is the term used to refer to the first week of university. So, what happens at freshers’ week, I hear you ask:
- Fun social events – these are great for meeting people outside your course. It helps you can extend your friendship branches.
- Freshers’ fair – this is a chance to meet societies and sports teams that you might want to join.
During this week, you get to meet your housemates, that you will be living with for the next year. You may like living with them so much that you chose to live with them in your second year. If things don’t go to plan, you can always contact your accommodation team to sort things out. Everything will work out.
- Your Students’ Union
Often, your Students’ Union (SU) is a hub for student activity. Some universities have their own student social spaces, sometimes run by the SU. If you’re sociable, that might be a good question to ask at an open day.
If you’re a sporty person, joining a team can be a great way to meet people. Sports teams often have training sessions alongside social sessions. So, it’s a great way to get active and be sociable.
Most universities take part in championships. This is where teams play against other student teams, battling it out to be crowned the best sports team in their field (Pun intended!). This is called BUCS – British Universities and Colleges Sport Championships.
These are formed of people that have similar interests or experiences. Across the Universities in Kent and Medway, there are many societies. Some of these include Disabled Students’ Society, the African Caribbean Society, International Students’ Society, and many more.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for you, you might be able to set your own up. So, consider taking it upon yourself and starting that community.
These are very similar to societies but focus on a specific background that you might come from. For example, BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic Students) networks, International Students’ networks and Disabled Students’ networks.
Ordinarily, these groups don’t ask for membership as the Students’ Union or University staff run them.
- University-led activities
These can be anything from something put on by wellbeing services or extra sessional lectures. A sessional lecture is an optional class. These are opportunities to engage with your fellow students. These are often based on topics which interest you. Such a fun way to meet other students during your whole time at university.
- Events/activities in your local area
If you are moving to a student city/ town, there are activities put on by local businesses aimed just at you! There are activities like:
– Painting classes
– Watch a show at a local theatre
– Escape rooms
– And more…!
The main student city in Kent is Canterbury, and there are many businesses offering discounts.
- Get both Unidays and StudentBeans. – these are apps which provide discounts for shops like New Look, to dining places like Prezzo, and many more.
- Cinemas, like the Curzon, have specific student tickets which are significantly discounted.
So, as I said earlier University really is what you make it.