Attending a university society can be one of the most fulfilling experiences of your time at university. Not only are you granted the opportunity to try out new things and meet new people, joining a university society allows you to meet people who are interested in the same things you are.
I joined my university’s roleplaying society during Orientation Week of my freshman year. Prior to their introductory sessions, I assumed that roleplay was either D&D or re-enacting Lord of the Rings. However, I found it to be a diverse and layered hobby and, over a year into university, I am yet to play a game of Dungeons and Dragons. I made friends with fellow members and slowly began to establish myself within the society.
When the annual exec (the group of members who run the society) elections rolled around, I decided to take a risk and run for a position. I wasn’t expecting to win as I had already suffered an electoral defeat for my college’s student body earlier in the year, but I figured that it was an experience. Well, turns out the role I chose, social secretary, was uncontested and I was voted in by the members present at the AGM.
But why did I run in the first place and why did I choose social sec of all roles? I am not the most sociable people; I am an introvert who gains social charge from being around people, meaning that I often don’t last very long in large-scale social situations. Furthermore, people who know me may call me a realist; some may call me a pessimist. Doesn’t sound like a person particularly suited to the role of organising a society’s social events, right?
Well here’s the thing. I fully accept that I discarded the rose-tinted glasses a long time, hell; I may never have worn them. However, one of the things I love doing is making people happy. That’s just part of who I am. What better way to achieve this than putting on events to make large groups of people happy? Furthermore, I felt that I had to give something back to the society. I find it hard to make friends because I often see myself as being outside the norm. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I look around and I see a lot of people of my generation ‘in’ the norm. My university’s roleplay society changed all that. Not only have I made some invaluable friends, running tabletop games and even my own independent LARP (Live Action Roleplay) have given me the confidence to go out and be the person I want to be. So part of the reason I ran for social sec was to give myself an outlet to give something back.
You see, many people will jump on the exec because they want to put something on their CV or because they ‘like the society’. There is nothing wrong with this mentality but for me, this wasn’t enough. I wanted to make a difference and make people happy.
So why I am writing this today? Well, last night was the last social of the calendar year. After the crazy week Lancaster has had, I thought it would be best to have a casual social at a local social club. What transpired blew my mind. It went from people eating and making merriment to a full blown rave. But as I stood on a balcony area of the venue, taking a moment to recharge, I looked around the hall, at everyone who had come along. And they were happy. People were genuinely having a good time and it touched me deeply. I often worry that people regret voting me or that my socials are not enjoyable but as I looked around the room and saw people having such a good time, I felt I had achieved what I had set out to do.