The Student
People forming a society
Voices
The societies that welcomed me

Will I make friends? Will I find where I fit in? Will I be lonely? These are all questions that run through Freshers’ minds in the months leading up to university. For most, moving away from home isn’t easy. Starting over in a new city, you leave everything and everyone you know behind; for international students, this may even be on the other side of the world. 

Societies play a crucial role in making new students feel welcome. The right society will not only align with your interests, but will provide you with a built-in group of friends that will last well beyond your time at university. 

Edinburgh Studio Opera was the first society I joined following auditions in October. After having mixed experiences in vocal groups at school, I was pleasantly surprised by this diverse group of people. They were welcoming and friendly to people from all different backgrounds, and they were easy to talk to and become friends with. Even though this is a slightly more niche interest, if you like singing or want to gain experience in directing, this is a society worth joining.

After growing distant from my friendship group in the second semester, I joined Edinburgh Model United Nations Society (EdMUN). Filled with people from around the world, all EdMUN asks from its members is that they respect each other and don’t take things too far. MUN is essentially a simulation of the real United Nations, with different committees discussing topics that stem from human rights abuses to global health crises. But no matter how serious the topic, it always promises to be a good time. A discussion on world peace may end up with someone suggesting to nuke the world so there are no more people left to be violent. And on EdMUN’s twentieth anniversary, we did a Crisis where penguins, armed with missiles, fought against humans for control over Antarctica. Oddballs are welcomed with open arms because they make weekly debates more interesting. 

Over the course of second semester, I attended several of Murder Mystery Society’s murder mysteries, and they never failed to amuse. Even virtually, trying to root out killers and conspiracies was fun. Every murder mystery is so carefully planned out that characters are given strange and specific quirks – like an obsession with horses – that have nothing to do with the actual mystery. Some people go all out with accents and even dress up like their character, although that is definitely not required. If you love Cluedo or watching mysteries and crime shows, you will definitely enjoy their events. A great group of people, Murder Mystery Society is the perfect place for you to be unapologetically you.

Another society I liked was the Bedlam Theatre Company. It really has a little bit of everything. Whether you want to be on the stage or behind it, producing or writing scripts, there is a place for you. If you’re a fan of theatre but don’t like acting, you just might find yourself a place in this group. BTC held some good socials over the course of last year, and are definitely worth checking out.

Those are the groups that I felt a part of during my time at university, and joining societies and attending their events was the best thing I did last year. Even in a pandemic, they made me feel at home, and I know that I have found my place at this university. If you’re scared about making friends or being alone, don’t be – just join a society or two, and you’re guaranteed to meet some great people.

Image via Vecteezy