Can’t Beat a Club Committee

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You hear about clubs from day one of uni, sometimes even before then at Open Days, O-Week, or through older students. But you never really hear about how they run, who organises these events, and what it’s like being on a committee.

At the end of the first semester of my second year, I managed to get a spot on the Arts Student Society committee. This led to two years in two different positions, working in a huge, wild and wonderful team of students from various majors.

Most Clubs have somewhere between 5-15 spots on their committee: A President, Secretary and Events Coordinators to name a few. At an Annual General Meeting (AGM), you’re able to present a speech, answer a few questions and nominate yourself for a position if you’d like to help organise the events that this club or society hold. The people in each position changes year to year, in order to ensure that new skills and faces were being brought to the club.

In 2016, I was the General Committee Representative for the Arts Student Society. I was basically a spokesperson for the general committee who got to tell members when events were happening and ask for their feedback. I always knew what was going on in the society and was able to connect with lots of people, often the odd confused jaffy as we created a community for our society.

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It was an opportunity where I got to know a lot of people and increase my social skills as I communicated with all kinds of people. I was also able to welcome newcomers to something where I’d had a lot of fun, especially in my first year.

In 2017, I went up again at the AGM for Education Coordinator. This was a position that required you to think about strengthening the educational and academic elements of a faculty society. I won the votes and had the opportunity to work in a partnership with another Education Coordinator. Developing a great partnership with him and communicating with faculty really felt worthwhile, not to mention the Writing Competition with all its entries and wonder. A lot of emails and reading were involved, but it was always worth it.

As education is always changing, this role also meant creating new things to keep up with students—for instance, a student-led Lecture Series on internships was one of our first new additions.

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Being on a clubs committee is one of those incredible experiences that I’m glad to have had the opportunity to take part in not once, but twice. It provides an opportunity to do some volunteer work (yes that’s another thing, none of the positions are paid) that contributes to the lives of other students around you with similar interests, and really helps you in making some great new friends, working together with others and creating exciting events for members.

As with everything however, there are always cons of being on a clubs committee.

Cons of Club Committees Pros of Club Committees
·      You have to put in the hard work alongside your degree, it’s purely voluntary, and how much you put in influences how members of your club feel, so you decide the experience.

·      You are expected to attend a lot of club events, which can sometimes interfere with other things you have going on in your life.

·      The AGM itself counts as a con because they often go for hours and sometimes you won’t even get the position that you’re interested in. Long speeches, questions and standing in front of an audience of people voting? Intimidating.

·      Sometimes there can be a lot of paperwork and emailing that goes around in circles until you finally work out what the answer is to the question you’re asking.

·      It’s something to put on your CV, volunteering looks great on the resume.

·      Depending on the society, sometimes you get to go on Orientation Camps – this is one of the greatest university experiences even I had as an introverted first year.

·      Free or discounted tickets to all of your events that you’re organising! Nothing better than a free party!

·      AGMs can be full of drama (if that’s what you’re into!)

·      Opportunities and connections: sometimes clubs might get approached by businesses for sponsorships, discounts, or even just free stuff (I got to attend the Melbourne premier of Ready Player One).

·      Skipping the BBQ line at your own BBQ.

·      Being part of one club often means you create connections with other clubs as well, which enriches your university experience!

·      You can try new things, create new events that you think students might be interested in.

·      You learn who knows what and where you can ask for help if you need it.

·      Great new friends and relationships can come out of club committees!

Joining a club and trying out for committee really is worth it. Without my time on the Arts Student Society, I think it would’ve taken a lot longer for me to feel comfortable at uni, confident and being more involved than I ever thought I would be.

If you’re interested in joining a club check out the Clubs and Societies Page to find the right one for you, and who knows, maybe one day you’ll be President of your favourite?


About the Author:

Sarah is a 5-ft-nothing bee enthusiast with a bob. Studying English and Creative Writing, she often posts bookish rants and poems on her Instagram @reading.rah

What if I Didn’t Make Friends in O-Week?

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We all have that dream. You show up to your host tour on your first day of uni and become best friends with the other person who’s also late. You find solace in the person sitting next to you in your Power tutorial. You meet the coolest person who you immediately click with on that o-camp. The dream of meeting your next best friend as soon as you start uni is one that we’ve all had, but it’s not always a reality.

And that’s okay.

Here’s some secrets.

I don’t remember anyone from my host tour.

I left my orientation camp only sort of knowing a handful of people.

I didn’t get coffee with anyone I didn’t know already in my first semester.

I made my best friends after my first semester of university.

Not everyone is going to make friends the second they step foot onto campus. But there are always things that you can do to boost your confidence and ensure that you’re not going through uni by yourself.

Clubs and Societies

Think of a hobby or interest you have. Chances are there’s a club for this and they will most likely have a Facebook page where you can learn about their upcoming events. By participating in clubs events you can find people with similar interests. Even more, if the club has recurring BBQs or picnics, this is the perfect opportunity to help a society out and cook a snag. Going to events and offering a hand means that people will see you more often, you’ll  develop familiarity and potential friendships! For a list of the clubs, click here.

Friend Requests

You’re almost guaranteed to add a lot of people on Facebook or follow them on Instagram and Snapchat. I’m not saying the more people you add the more likely you are to make close knit friendships, but it means you’ll develop a circle of people you do know. If you’ve just added someone on Facebook, don’t be shy about sending them a message! It might not feel like it, but they’re probably just as keen and just as scared about contacting you as you are about them.

And even if you don’t talk to them straight away, you might find yourself in a class with them in second semester, and having already met them, you might be more inclined to talk to them again.

Safe Spaces

If you identify as a woman/non-binary or member of the queer community, there are spaces in Union House where you can go and relax. Decked out with couches and goodies and amazing student representatives, the Women’s Room can be found on Level 1 (straight ahead when you come up the stairs and then to the right) and the Queer Space on Level 3 (turn right when you get out of the elevator). You’ll also be able to find support and information in these rooms on various issues if you need it.

UMSU, the University of Melbourne Student Union, also has other departments and services available . Want to help out at BBQs and parties? Have a look at Activities. If you’re looking for more communities of likeminded students, check out People of Colour, Indigenous, Disabilities. All these, plus more, can be found here.

Get Involved

Getting involved in things that aren’t clubs can also be a really good way of meeting new people at uni. Write something for Farrago and visit them in the Media Space (level 4 Union House), attend some PASS sessions if you’re an Arts Student and keen to smash out those H1s, and even pitch us an article if you think there’s something we should be writing about! The more you participate, the more people you’re going to know.

Persevere

It can be a difficult time if you’re not finding people to connect with immediately, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Taking time for yourself is really important. It can sometimes become very stressful at uni without a strong support network so I highly recommend looking at the Unimelb Services website for a place to seek out some help.

For me it took a lot longer than it felt like it took for other people. Eventually it was actually in tutorials where I ended up with the same people from first and second year that I found some of my friends. Participating heavily in societies like Ring of Choir also helped a lot.

Everyone moves at different speeds. If you don’t make friends in your first few weeks of uni, it’s nothing to be ashamed about. In fact, it’s more common than you would think. In your first semester you might be a jaffy with few friends, but by third year you might have found the best group possible. Just keep doing, and dreaming.

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Source: Giphy