Five things you should know when joining a society committee, from an ex social-sec
While it might seem serious now, it won’t matter to you in five years, so don’t stress yourself out about it
Okay, so you’ve just been voted in as Social Secretary at the AGM.
First of all, a massive congratulations!
But now you might be wondering, what it’s actually like to be on the committee.
Well, let me give you some insight – from someone who has been in your very position.
1. This role can be insanely demanding
When you first sign up for the role, and present why you feel as though you are suitable at the AGM, it all can seem so exciting. But now you have the role, you must understand how demanding it can be at times. Although you may get the privilege to organise a ball and various different socials, you also need to be aware of how much time it actually takes to plan all of these things. For example, you may want to organise an event such as ‘Pub Golf’. For this you may need to contact all of the bars, plan a route, make up drinking rules/penalties, create a list of drinks for each bar. The list goes on…
Although this does not seem like much, it actually takes up a large amount of time, and between this and your studies, you may find yourself struggling to keep up. But do not be afraid to turn to other committee members if you need some help. They should be there to help and assist you too. Take it from my own personal experience, I should have turned to other members for help more often, instead of trying to do it alone, and there is no shame in admitting that.
If you are someone that is able to cope well with stress, this role is perfect for you.
2. Your socials might not be popular, and that’s okay
Although you may believe that your social is a great idea, others might disagree, and that is okay. Not everyone is going to love everything or every idea you come up with.
You may find that some of your socials are more popular than others. More often than not, the alcohol-related socials will be your most popular, whereas chilled, sober socials, may not be so busy. That is not a reflection of you, or your organisational skills, it’s just that not everything appeals to everyone.
Even if certain socials are not as popular, it is important to have a variety of socials for everyone in your society.
Inevitably, the most important thing is that everyone feels welcome, and there is a mixture of events suitable for everyone tastes. If you able to ensure this, then you are doing your job properly.
3. Sometimes your messages will be ignored in the committee group chat, don’t take it to heart
So, they ignored your message. They hate you. Wrong.
Sometimes there is so much going on at once, your message may slip through the cracks of the group chat, it doesn’t mean that the other committee members hate you.
Of course, if they continually seem to ignore you, then there is probably something else going on and it’s worth raising an issue at the next meeting, so it can be properly addressed.
Most often though, your message has gotten lost among other messages, and it was an honest mistake. You must remember, people have a life outside of the society. If they don’t message back immediately, it may because they are busy, usually there is no mal intent behind it.
Just remember, we’re all students here, we have university work, jobs, social lives, etc… so, stop overthinking it!
PS. if the message is really important, there is no shame in double-texting.
4. Societies can feel a bit cliquey (especially whilst on the committee)
When joining a society, you are going to become friends with the other committee members, that’s pretty obvious. But sometimes if some of the members are already friends, it can feel as though you are intruding on a friend group. It feels like secondary school all over again, and you’re an outsider to the most popular clique.
It can feel lonely – trust me, I’ve been there.
Especially when there may be group chats without you. But you need to remember, they were friends before you joined, and you might not know them that well.
You might be a stranger to them. Don’t stress yourself out. The true nature of the cliqueness lies within the gossip of the group. Cattiness is the most common thing you will come across when on a committee. Whether it’s about other societies, members of the society or even some of the committee, someone will always have gossip about something.
That is just the way societies are. So don’t be alarmed when the gossip starts flowing. But the most important part of being within the clique, is to be true to yourself. Don’t change who you are to try to fit in with other people, you’ll be miserable.
If you don’t feel like you get along with someone or it’s too malicious, just leave. Its honestly the best thing you can do – take it from my own experience.
5. It’s a university society, it’s just not that deep
One thing about being on the committee is that everyone seems to take it far too seriously. Perhaps that’s why I quit halfway through the year.
At the end of the day, you are a social secretary for a university society, during term time. While it might seem serious now, it won’t matter to you in five years, so don’t stress yourself out about it.
It’s quite literally an extra-curricular activity, if it gets too much, step down from the role. If you find yourself being mistreated in the role, or getting into unnecessary petty arguments, just leave.
Don’t waste your time doing something that makes you unhappy.
I know that it may seem like it means everything right now, and your social life depends on it, but it’s just like popularity in school. When you leave university, it means nothing. Yeah, it may be a nice addition to a CV but other than that, it literally holds no value.
Just enjoy your time while your there, make friends and move on when you finish.
Although I cannot speak for the other roles on the committee, the best advice I could give to you, regarding being a social secretary, is don’t get too hung up on the little things. Instead, just try to enjoy yourself.
These are the so called ‘best years of your life’, and university doesn’t last forever, so get drunk, do silly challenges, have crazy socials and have the best time that you can.