How quickly a large, empty space like The Venue can suddenly be filled with thousands of students. I never really knew what to expect, this was my first time behind the desk, and the memories of last year were vague.
Clubs and Socs Day, the time when every society and sports club in this fine university must put on its very best to impress the indecisive freshers to join up. The Hub is awash with the sound of cheap speakers pumping out today’s new hits, the smell of pizza and energy drinks, and the sight of floods of students scurrying around trying to find which stands are giving away the best free stuff. Condoms and sweets are always popular.
I was at the Journalism Society stand for the three days that people could sign up. It was, surprisingly, not as easy as you would imagine. You must try your very best to coax anyone with a slight interest in your society to join. You become a showman, happy and smiling, even if you face a barrage of No’s from people you stop along the way.
The unexpected rush of having groups of people actually take interest in what your society has to offer kept me fed throughout the week. It was possible to time when you were about to get busy again. Top of the hour, first years about to leave a lecture, get your game face on.
When I took breaks from manning our stand, I was able to wander around and get a good feel for what clubs and societies have to offer in DCU. What I found was that college is the perfect cross-section of human interests. Everything is served, from anime and manga to yoga, from LGBTA to An Cumann Gaelach, and even tea. A whole society for tea. How very Irish. Maybe it should be called the tae soc though.
While showmanship is a very large part of your act on Clubs and Socs Day, so is honesty and competency. If you don’t know the ins and outs of what you’re representing, you’ll die out there.
I was faced with some tough questions, some I hadn’t prepared for, some I didn’t think students would throw my way. I was able to answer a few, but some were fluffed, and it was obvious the interested student knew that. They were probably reeled back in though by the free jellies we were giving away, always a plus.
Long days at our stand only left me incredibly motivated and excited for the year ahead. Every society has so much to offer, so much to learn and experience. If you get involved in a society’s committee, you also get incredibly valuable experience of responsibility. There are now people depending on what you have to say and offer. Welcome to the real world.
I’ll never forget Clubs & Socs Day, the pressure and the pleasure. I worked with incredible people and got a buzz unlike any before. A warning though – you will lose your voice, but it’s worth it.