University life is definitely not all work and no play. You’re going to find yourself with a nice bit of free time in even if it doesn’t seem it at times.
Especially lately, it’s SO important for your mental health that you find a balance between work and play. Joining a society is a great way to broaden your horizons, meet likeminded people and have some fun.
Beyond that, we have a nearly* endless list of societies here at Heriot-Watt (*list may actually have an end, but there's a bunch, you get the idea!) who run events across the semester too. Some of our societies might be related to things you're already interested or involved in. Where better to find people you already have a lot in common with? Some of these groups might be activity-based, like Airsoft & Paintball or Drama, but we've also got Cultural and Faith-based societies like our Indian Society, Christian Union, and Muslim Society. As well as our diversity-based societies, including LGBT+ Society and Watt Women in STEM.
It being University and all, we're also home to a ton of Academic societies! Who better to help you settle into your new course than students who have been in your shoes? Don't worry, these societies aren't exclusive to students who study the courses; you can always get involved in the Brewing Society if you're interested in finding out more about beer! Or the Business Management Society if you need help with your side-hustle.
Don't stick to the things you're comfortable with - university is the time to broaden your horizons and grow as a person. Plus, think about when you go looking for a job. Employers are much more likely to hire someone who has evidence of extracurricular activities. Societies don't only provide you with a community and network of friends but they also help you learn a bunch of REALLY important skills from the events, training, and activities they run throughout the year. Plus, if you're part of a society's committee, you can log the hours you spend volunteering, and they'll be added to your academic transcript! You might even be eligible for an award!
Ok, so you've read the list of societies, and it feels like something is missing. GREAT! All you need is 9 other people like you who want to do, make, play, build, fundraise and you can set up your own society. We've had a Garlic Bread Appreciate Society in the past, so the only limit is your imagination! We'll even help fund your society
But what else is there?
Societies are only one way, and you might find your schedule doesn’t line up exactly with a whole lot of events. Don’t worry! There’s still ways you can meet people – the old fashioned way! Any self-respecting Scottish shop carries a standard carrier pigeon that you ca-… kidding! Its making friends with the people you meet day-to-day in your halls/flat and in lectures.
In the beginning, it’ll seem really repetitive; you’ll be telling people your name, what your course is, and where you’re from over a thousand times. It’s so simple, but it’s a great way to break the ice.
Relax, and remember these tips on how to get meeting new people when you arrive.
Prop open your door while you’re unpacking your stuff or just kicking about so your new neighbours know you’re in. Invite them in to see your room, or offer to lend them a hand with cooking or any final items they have to unpack. Arrange to have some well-earned drinks in your halls lounge after all the hard work of moving in is done!
If people in your corridor/flat haven’t adopted the open-door system, knock on their door and introduce yourself. It gets easier after the greetings are out of the way!
But I’m not Living in Halls!
It might seem like it at first, but not everybody is living in halls. Where ever you are, you'll likely still have flatmates and you can use the same advice all the same. Either way, every student at Heriot-Watt is a member of the Student Union so you’re invited to all our online Refreshers events! You can also join our virtual halls on Facebook so you won't miss out on anything. In Edinburgh? Join here! Or if you're at SBC this is the group for you! Just make sure you make an extra effort to participate and get chatting to people!
Refreshers Week is naturally a great way to meet new people with all the various events happening. We're running Tea @ 3 events throughout the week - they're the perfect events to enjoy a cuppa and natter away.
We’ve also roped in a bunch of societies to run “Give it a go” sessions that are open to everyone – whether it's chess, cooking, making cocktails, or just watching a movie, you can drop in on any of the sessions and…just give it a bit of a go to see what you like!
If you have to miss Refreshers Week, don’t worry: you’ll get to catch up with everybody once the semester starts properly. With society events and different elective class-groups, you’ll be making friends just as quick.
All you need is just one person you get along with. It might be someone from your course or someone you really take to during a mixer event, but from there the two of you can go to events together, and bring each other when you’re invited to things. Ta-da – your social circle has expanded!
You are obviously coming to university to study! Your course will give you fantastic opportunities to meet people who are into the same things as you. Whether its course-mates in different year groups or who are on the same elective as you, they know much of what your experience has been like on your course so far.
Tutorials and lectures are a great way to get chatting to people, so make that effort on day one – even if it is a breakout room on Blackboard or Zoom.
Make sure you've joined our Official Freshers Facebook Group as well as your Halls group. Introduce yourself, and start making friends!
Check out these other groups too!:
International Students - hwunion.com/inter
Postgraduate Students - hwunion.com/post
Direct Entry Students - hwunion.com/direct