I now graduated one year ago, I let go of my student life and started working life. For me this transition had some highs and lows. I can look back on an amazing student time and even though I had some nice friends from my high school life, the thing that made my student life so great was joining student associations! You might think of stupid stereotypes of people joining these associations, but I can definitely proof you wrong! ;)
My student associations
In my first year of study, I didn’t join any clubs, societies or anything. I still lived at home, travelled to university and had my friends from high school. By the end of the first year, I was a bit disappointed how my ‘student life’ was going, people telling you it’s the best time of your life, while I wasn’t really experiencing it! Also some friends I made at my studies still lived with their parents, which made my life pretty quiet. Then, I decided to move to Groningen (the city where I studied), cause I wanted more. I got a very nice room (unfortunately didn’t really have a very social house), and I thought I might just well join a student association to get to know more people in the city (too much spare time!).
The nicest thing of joining an association is: there’s always one that suits you! Some are sports related, hobby related, study related or general. As I didn’t want my studies to suffer from joining a society, I decided to go with a student association that didn’t involve much obligations & rules. It was the best decision I made (even though it was quite impulsive). This association was very free and fun with no compulsory drinking stuff and hazing. I got to know an amazing group girls in a short period of time which became my ‘yearclub’. The idea behind this club is that you spend wednesday nights together with dinner and then drinks at the bar of the association. Then, for me my student life really started: Many parties, meeting new people, joining a committee. It really made me feel part of something! Something that I was afraid of, didn’t came true: I still had plenty of time for my other friends & studies. Now after 4,5 year of knowing each other, we are all still great friends. The (kind of compulsory) wednesday evenings together created a lifelong bond (sounds cheesy, I know). But we all realise that we are quite lucky, you also hear many groups fighting and breaking apart. So I’m really grateful that didn’t happen to us, and even though I see them a bit less now, I know it’s always right when we see each other! It’s always fun and we are all there for each other when times are tougher.
However, this society wasn’t the only one I joined! In my 3rd year I decided to start playing badminton again. I was received with open arms in the student badminton club of Groningen, which made me wish I’ve joined way before! But as badminton requires 2-3 times of playing each week, it would have been too busy to do it next to the first year of the other student association. Here, I made some new friends which I didn’t even expect! I even joined a committee there, to organize a big tournament! Now, 1 year after quitting badminton there, I’m still seeing them every once in a while :)
Then third, I joined an international society. I can really recommend any student to do so! As I went abroad to Ireland, I knew what it was like to be an international student and meeting people from all over the world! Exchanging thoughts from different cultures and travel experiences. I really loved that, and wanted to continue that open mindset. I became an introduction guide in Groningen for the internationals there a few times and got to know so many nice people! Them internationals know how to party!;)
All in all, I can say that these 3 societies contributed extremely much to my life (not only student life). It made me learn how to approach new people, open up, deal with different types of people and was a good way to create a large network that is useful for the rest of your (working) life as well! It gave me great long-lasting friendships and helped me to develop myself more. So if you’re starting your student life, I can really recommend you to join a student association that fits you! But hey that’s my opinion, you’re free to think elsewise!;)
Transitioning to work life
The way I describe my time in Groningen may make you think I miss it a lot, however I don’t! I was really to leave Groningen behind and start a new life somewhere else (get to know even more new people!) Even though it wasn’t an easy time at first, to figure out what I wanted with my life and even though it’s a lot harder to meet new friends when you’re working full-time, I did manage to work my way through it. I met some nice new people and also am able to maintain good friendships from my student life as well (read more on this in my latest post on long-distance friendships). I actually really love this period now of being a starter in working life! Even though you’re less flexible because of working 40 hours during the weeks (took quite some getting used to), you still have all the freedom in the world to do anything you like in the evenings and weekends! And most importantly: You now have the money too!! Travel, dinners, parties, concerts, anything is possible (at least when you don’t start a family yet;)) Working isn’t all that bad!
What are your thoughts on student associations and transitioning to working life?:)