MA English Literature student Thea discusses ways you can pursue your academic and creative interests by joining our student societies at UoB

In my time at UoB, I’ve found that student societies have been incredibly helpful for my personal and academic development, as well as for finding enjoyment in my time here.

My experience in student societies

Serving as the treasurer and later the president of Writer’s Bloc (the creative writing society) during my undergraduate years opened doors for me. There I gained the experience that helped me secure internships later on. Currently, as a postgraduate (taught) student, I actively participate in the Tabletop Gaming Society, finding the time to unwind in the midst of academic intensity.

At undergrad, I studied English and Creative Writing, so seeking out the creative writing society seemed like an obvious choice. Surrounded by individuals who shared a passion for storytelling and literature, I found a supportive community that encouraged creativity and self-expression.

Workshops, writing sessions, and open mic events not only honed my writing skills but also fostered connections with like-minded peers who quickly became enduring friends. Community like this was essential for my own development as a writer, an experience that my degree itself couldn’t really offer.

Gaining experience and a chance to unwind

Transitioning to leadership roles within the Writer’s Bloc presented challenges that were also invaluable learning experiences. As treasurer, I gained insights into financial management and event planning, skills that proved invaluable in my applications to work with production companies. The presidency expanded my responsibilities, offering lessons in leadership and organizational dynamics. The demanding role, though time-consuming, provided a sense of fulfilment derived from witnessing the society’s growth and the enjoyment of its members.

While balancing committee responsibilities with academic studies presented its own set of challenges, it also underscored the importance of finding equilibrium. Writer’s Bloc, with its workshops and events, became a place to unwind from academic pursuits.

Striking a balance between the responsibilities of a committee role and the demands of studies was crucial for my overall well-being and ability to focus on my studies.

Societies and wellbeing benefits

As I transitioned to my master’s program, I felt it was time to engage with a new space and take a step away from leadership roles, so I joined the Tabletop Gaming Society. Engaging in board games, role-playing games, and wargaming offered a distinct form of relaxation and socialization.

Going to weekly gaming sessions has been a great way to manage the challenges of postgraduate studies. The immersive and engaging nature of tabletop games provides a mental break, allowing for a recharge of focus and energy. Taking that few hours a week to go and have a laugh with friends always helps me regather my momentum and head into the next week of seminars with a positive outlook.

In conclusion, my experiences with student societies, from leading the Writer’s Bloc to being an active member of the Tabletop Gaming Society, have been instrumental in shaping my academic journey. These communities have not only provided a supportive environment for personal and creative growth but have also offered valuable lessons in leadership, organization, and the art of finding balance amidst the challenges of academic life.