Updated: Jun 17
By Annie Rees
If you have zero intentions on joining societies then you should probably stop reading now (or just skip to the TLDR), however I strongly advise against this, and here’s why…
When in your interview you’re asked what you could bring University life, or even just what other interests you have, I guarantee you had some societies in mind. This is your opportunity to actually be a part of something. Now I’m not saying you have to actually do whatever you made up in your interview (in no circumstances will I ever choreograph a dance for a society),but if you don’t even consider joining societies you will seriously miss out on a huge part of what being a student entails.
Whether you join a sports society & end up at Slug every Wednesday night (NB it’s now renamed ‘The Redback’ albeit no one calls it this), or an arts society where you have endless rehearsals until Play Week arrives (which I will tell you now, is a hell of a lot more than just performing), there are opportunities for everyone. Some societies are more wholesome than others, but you have to find what’s right for you. For me, I joined a few societies and in doing so, have so many friends & can’t think of a single person I wouldn’t enjoy talking to in these societies.
One thing a society does is break down barriers between years and even alumni who may make appearances on tour or at end of year dinners. The support from older years is crucial if you want to survive medical school - they advise you on what’s to come, what not to worry about, give you academic tutorials, be your OSCE tutors & also tell you juicy gossip from their year or even med school rumours.
The sports & arts societies are more well-known to be slightly messy & crazy, but they can be wholesome too, so don’t rule them out if you want a chill vibe. There are also charity & academic societies which allow you to explore areas of medicine you’re interested in, give back or even gain experience, whether that’s through Teddy Bear hospital (teaching kids First Aid) or attending Muslim Medics renowned tutorials.
Societies can offer so much to you, and on top of that allow you to continue with your hobbies & interests from school. At Imperial we have all our medical societies under our ICSMSU, but there are also the non-medic societies to consider which are generally more expansive & honestly it can be very nice sometimes to mix with non-medics & not talk about medicine all the time.
After reading this, I hope you’ll go to the Fresher’s fair & pick out some societies you want to try out. They really can just make your University experience.
TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read)
1. Join societies, they’re a great place to make friends
2. Older years in societies are your fairy godmothers
3. Academic & charity societies are equally as good as sports & arts societies
4. Don’t rule out non-medic societies, it’s nice to have more than just medic friends
5. Societies make Uni