The magic of societies

19 January 2021

UCL alumnus Ujjayanta Bhaumik made the most of his time as a Masters student by joining several societies. Read about his experiences of being a society member and its positive impact on his wellbeing.

A group of young women wearing face masks sit around a table with their laptops

Starting out at UCL

I still hold dear the memory of when I got accepted to UCL. Being an international student from a small, beautiful place called Agartala, India, thinking of a potential move to London overwhelmed me. But things started to fall into place, and I found myself at the home of Big Ben.

I’m sure you also had a myriad of emotions in your mind before the advent of a wonderful adventure at one of the best universities in the world. It was the same for me. I could probably paint a picture with those emotions. The Welcome Fair events in the first week gave me my much-needed mental refresher. I tried so many taster sessions and finally decided to join the UCL Juggling and Circus society.

The benefits of societies

The friends I made through the society taught me so many things - how to juggle clubs and balls, and we used to have fire nights from time to time. Each Monday, after early morning and late evening lectures, I went to the night juggling sessions followed trips to the pub to hang out and play UNO and other games. I fondly remember our performance at the Bloomsbury theatre after hours of practice and coordination. My juggling journey complemented my studies remarkably by allowing me to exercise my creative side once in a while.

Activities in societies are really helpful for your mental wellbeing as they give you an alternative to the general study packed sessions and regular schedule. You can even create your own society to bring your thoughts to life. It is extremely easy to start a society; you just need the approval of 20 other students.

Find out more about starting your own club or society.

Meeting others – and staying in touch

Studying at UCL in the pre-COVID world, things used to work so much differently for me. But as you are reading this, there are plenty of restrictions meaning most society events are being held virtually. As always though, as wonderful as life is, it finds a way. It’s the time of Discord and Google meets. Most societies these days hold events virtually with participants rejoicing from different parts of the world.

My Juggling society friends, to this day, still meet virtually every Sunday. I benefitted hugely from my time at societies when I was at UCL. In my opinion, even if you don’t go on to join any society, you should try all the taster sessions. You get to meet wonderful people, even pick-up new hobbies. 

It is so important to take care of our mental health - especially in pandemic times where one can hardly predict what comes next. 

Find out how to get involved with societies while you're at UCL. 

Ujjayanta Bhaumik, MSc. Computer Graphics, Vision and Imaging