- 18 Sep 23
Riccardo Dwyer gets the lowdown on the college society scene from DCU Societies Officer, Shane Murphy.
Societies often define the third level experience. Whether you’re a wide-eyed fresher, or a seasoned student, these groups offer the opportunity to get the most out of your tenure on campus.
“It’s the first time in your life you have the chance to say, ‘Right, what am I actually interested in?’”, says Shane Murphy, Societies Officer at DCU. “Societies are an easy way to meet people who share interests with you, which you may not have had the opportunity to do before.
“College is, relatively speaking, a very short part of your life. The years will fly by. I’ve talked to people who didn’t get involved in societies until third or fourth year. They all say they wish they had been involved sooner.”
With a vast array of choices available, choosing the right society can seem tricky at first. If it’s something you’re already interested in or an entirely new pursuit, the solution is to keep an open mind.
“DCU has over one hundred different societies and there’s no one size fits all guide to trying them out”, says Shane. “What you should look for is what interests you and then the next step is to see if you fit in with the people in the society.
“Societies do mixer events to get people involved. There’s always going to be a karaoke night, a pub quiz, quick fire mixers or icebreaker nights to get talking to people. Fairs are usually on at the beginning of term. Just come in and just walk around and see what catches your eye and go up to people, ask questions.”
As exciting as student life is, it’s also likely to put a hole in your pocket very quickly. Rising costs of living and accommodation might make picking up a new hobby seem out of reach. There’s no need to worry – societies offer amazing experiences at a greatly reduced cost.
Take DCU’s Karting Soc for example: “If you’ve an interest in motorsport, you can join the society and pay 30 euro for a full day’s karting which can set you back 90 euro,” says Shane. “This applies to all societies that do trips or go to conferences.”
If these reduced amounts remain a fiscal burden, there are measures in place to make sure that you don’t miss out.
“For the most part, there is no barrier to entry. If you’re in a situation where you’re struggling financially, there is an access fund to help you. Cost shouldn’t stop you. If you’re deciding between going on a trip or buying food for the week, you can do both.”
The vibrant college environment can also be overwhelming, particularly for introverts. While the thought of joining a new society can be intimidating at first, everyone has to start somewhere.
“There’s nothing to be nervous about. People want to see you involved – you’re not imposing on anyone,” assures Shane. “For people with social anxiety, every society in DCU has the option to get in contact virtually through social media or email. There’s no onus to put yourself out of your comfort zone. Just remember that everyone who’s involved in a society was standing in the position you’re in. Nobody looks at you any differently. Everyone is treated equally, the caveat being never ask an engineer about their homework!”
If the myriad of options still doesn’t resonate with you, don’t fret, there’s always the possibility to form your own unique group.
“You’re going to have to go through the club’s office and they’ll guide you through every step of the process”, advises Shane. “All you need is your vision of what the society should be and a list of 20 people who would be willing to join the society to show that there’s interest.”
The college journey is brief but transformative. Societies play a pivotal role in enriching your campus experience and forging connections with like-minded individuals. Whether it’s discovering passions, having fun on a budget, or overcoming personal barriers, societies cater to every need.
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