Agony Aunt: making the most of second semester

“I‘ve always wanted to make the most out of uni, but I‘m quite shy and never joined many societies. Now it’s second semester and I regret not being more involved, but it feels a bit late to make a change. Should I join a society halfway or wait until next year to start fresh with everyone else?“

It can feel so contradictory being shy, but also keen to try something new and get out of your comfort zone. University – particularly in your first year – can definitely feel like a daunting place when you are less a part of it, or do not spend time there except for studying.

It is good to stand back and question what has been holding you back from joining a society. If your primary concern is joining at an unusual time in the semester, then you will be pleased to hear that joining a society later in the year is never an issue. Groups are usually eager for more people to join, be it the first or last week of the year. If the society interests you, then drop them an email and see if you are good to go.

If it is more a case of your shyness holding you back, then be comforted by the fact that not every student will be as confident or self-assured as you may think. In my first year, I found the transition from home to University tricky, and as a result became shy in most social interactions outside of my flat. I tended to just go home straight after a lecture rather than talk to people, and my confidence lessened as a result. When I thought about joining The Gryphon, I worried that I would not have enough confidence.

It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that to join a society or try a new experience you must banish all shyness, or become super confident. Life does not work that way – confidence and reassurance is something that comes with time and experience. Even if you are nervous, I would encourage you to challenge yourself and go for it – attending that first Blogs meeting was the best decision that I made in first year.

If you are eager to live University life to the fullest, then societies are definitely the way to go. I honestly cannot preach the benefits of societies enough. Being part of the newspaper built up my confidence so much; all the lovely people that you meet and the socials that you attend (long live Akmals) make your time at Leeds all the better. If you are still nervous about joining, you could always ask a friend to join a group with you, or you could ask the society leader over email for more details. But overall I would encourage you to challenge yourself, send those emails, and join as many societies as you can!

Charlie Collett

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