Thiery And MMA Club

International Student Ambassador Thiery from Cameroon shares what being part of a club at university has taught him and helped him achieve

Joining a society or a sports club wasn’t originally on my university bucket list. In fact, when a friend brought up the idea, I had dismissed it. To me, it felt like extra university work when all I really wanted to do was chill and play video games – you see I had just gotten the Xbox game pass with its limitless game options. But my friend kept insisting. Eventually, to get him off my back, I promised to go for one session.

At the time he was officially part of the UPSU MMA and the gymnastics clubs – unofficially, he had been involved with all societies under the sun, having tried almost all other clubs except those with specific restrictions (though he did try to enter the all-female pole dancing club).

I had always been interested in martial arts, so I chose to try out the MMA club. I can still remember my first club taster; it was a Wednesday and by noon, with no more lecture for the day, I decided to meet my friend before the session at 1pm. And I missed my bus, this didn’t stop me though and eventually I got to the taster a few minutes late, my friend was already there. I went in. And as they say “the rest is history”.

But today, I’ll share with you why I think you should join a society or club.

Thiery Wirngo, International Student Ambassador, LLB Law with International Relations Student

First, it’s an opportunity to meet new people with a shared interest. It also introduced me to students of other year groups, who shared their top do’s and don’ts whilst in university – I’ll share those in my next blog, so stay tuned. Also, the varying levels of ability, from absolute beginners to professionals - there were no professionals in the society, it was just a way for our coach to motivated us - provided a safe space for me to learn.

Which is the second reason to join a society or sports club, you get to learn and discover something new.
Has there been a hobby you’ve always wanted to try, but never had the time for? Or maybe you felt inspired by the Olympics to start a new sport? Joining a club or a society is the perfect place to discover something new. Not sure if it’s the right thing for you? Clubs and societies will often hold free taster sessions during Freshers Week for new and returning students free of charge to give them a taste of what their club or society offers. These have no strings attached, so even if you discover it’s not for you, you don’t have to join, nor attend future sessions.

And though I got lucky with my first pick, I strongly advice you to try a few clubs before deciding.

Thiery Wirngo, International Student Ambassador, LLB Law with International Relations Student

Also, a society or sports club will give you a sense of fulfilment and community. Something you may not know is clubs and societies can be a great place for you to gain volunteering experience and organise activities to make your university a more inclusive place or help those less fortunate than yourself. My society held fundraisers for LGBTQ+ and BAME communities for example. Everyone was given the opportunities to get involved with activities ranging from running for the club or society’s committee so you’re at the helm of organising activities for students, or getting involved in the events themselves i.e., actually running to raise money for charity. Volunteering provides fulfilment and insights into various communities, while making a fantastic addition to your CV.

Lastly, being part of societies and sports clubs can help your career prospects. I realised that as fun as university has been, it won’t last forever. But thanks in part to those in the year above me in my society, I knew I was not alone. This allowed me to start preparing for a career after university without overstressing. Clubs are also a great place to build skills not taught at university but necessary for work life like organisational skills, time management etc. Being part of a club also allows you to stand out and show employers that you’re more than just another degree holder, but a real person with interests.

Overall, I believe every university student should fit in joining a club or society into their calendar. It is not the only way you can build skills or meet new people but, in my opinion, it is one of the easiest and most fulfilling. I hope this guide has been helpful and don’t forget to enjoy your time at university.

Thiery Wirngo, International Student Ambassador, LLB Law with International Relations Student