Welcome Freshers and congratulations on making it into university! For most to be accepted here it took countless sleepless nights crouched over revision books and innumerable mini-breakdowns drenched with self-doubt. Because of these two factors plus the massive dent knocked into what was once known as a social life, you deserve a pat on the back.

Now after all that hard work it would be careless not to make the most of your next 3-4 years as undergraduate students!

During these first stages of the year it is easy to be overwhelmed by the new change in lifestyle. Inevitably, the biggest lesson you’ll learn while you’re here is how to look after yourself.

Teaching aside, university is about making new friends, creating new experiences, learning new things and forging our futures. Thanks to many different societies here at DMU, that isn’t impossible.

With the Freshers’ Fair in full swing, it may have been easy to be drawn in by all the free sweets and treats to the point where it was possible to miss out on all the opportunities available to you.

De Montfort University is home to over 90 different societies created by and for students. From performance-based to educational, protesting to social, there is quite easily something for everyone. Thanks to the range of societies we have, you could leave university with a new talent/skill/hobby/outlook alongside your degree.

After leaving your families behind, it is important to feel a part of something and by joining a society you’ll expose yourself to many potential life-long friendships.

Not only are societies great on the social front, with many boasting to hold the best socials, but membership looks great on your CV too!

Stephen Burrell, VP Student Activities, said: “It is a great way to relax away from your studies. Membership looks great on a CV, to improve employability, as it shows that you want to be involved and active away from studies”

Getting stuck in and fully emerging yourself into the university community shows potential employers just how adaptable you can be. Not only that, but with groups such as Wire DMU, an entrepreneurial society, holding talks and workshops, membership can contribute towards growth and experience within the career field you wish to pursue.

For some societies, volunteering and aid is a massive part of their activity. Last year, DMU Hindu Society took part in various Sewa days whereby they gave back to the community by taking part in neighbourhood schemes, including a community clean-up. At DMU volunteering is highly favoured and rewarded. All you have to do is clock up the number of hours you’ve committed to and at the end of the year you’ll receive a certificate; another way to boost your CV!

I’m sure you’ve heard already that our very own Demon Media was voted NUS’s best student media in 2013. By joining a society, you’ll have lots of opportunities to take part in competitions that could really put DMU’s name on the map. Not only can competitions be rewarding, but they can be great fun too.

With society memberships starting from as little as £2, it would be criminal to pass on the opportunity of boosting your university experience. So, if you missed out on the Sports and Societies fair on Thursday, pop over to the DSU website now and get signing up!

But, don’t just take my advice; this is what current society members had to say:

Sherelle Robbins

Studies: Music technology

Society: Music society

“The music society has made a massive improvement from my first year of joining. We have weekly meetings that are similar to open mic events, where everyone is welcome to perform and are supported no matter what your musical ability is. The committee also work hard to throw monthly themed showcases open to anyone to come and watch, free of charge and get members opportunities to perform at various events across Leicester. Basically it’s a great society for any music lover.  Personally it’s helped my confidence on and off stage and helped me meet some great people!”

Sam Wood

Studies: Economics and Finance

Society: Wire DMU

“Last year we decided to start an entrepreneurial society as there was clearly a need for one. I was head of communications which allowed me to speak to loads of students (and lecturers) I would have never crossed paths with. Joining a society is crucial to your social experience at uni and I’m convinced it’s the number one way to meet friends outside of your course.”

Elizabeth Puddicombe

Studies: Journalism and Media

Society: DemonFm

“I was quite nervous to join the radio station in first year but last year I got stuck in and it was a real confidence boost. I found it super fun and went from co-hosting a late night show to having my own daytime show. I loved how much support and freedom I got and how much I learnt over the year. There were a lot of opportunities for more training and if that’s a career you want to go into, it’s a great chance to learn the ropes and see if it’s for you. I’d definitely recommend it to any aspiring presenters.”

Oliver Shepherd

Course: Business Management and Enterprise

Society: Poker Society

“I joined the Poker Society because I had always wanted to learn how to play. It’s portrayed as a game of glamour and skill. We have a laugh, a joke and you can get along with everyone; they make you feel welcome and are always willing to teach you about the game. Poker is not gambling, it’s a skill!”