A STEM student’s view on society culture

The challenge of consistent participation in society life is exacerbated by a large volume of college hours, as experienced by many STEM students

▲ The Hamilton Photo Credit: Joe McCallion/ Trinity News

If you interviewed the entirety of Trinity STEM students about their involvement in societies, I guarantee that many of the people who said they were active members of clubs or societies were also highly organised individuals. Either that or they have abandoned fretting over keeping up with non-urgent college work. Being part of a society, sport related or otherwise, requires energy and commitment.

Both factors are the key to extended involvement, and the ingredients for enjoyment within the club. Arguably, the challenge of consistent participation is exacerbated by a large volume of college hours, as experienced by many STEM students. Society events often take place during the evening and sometimes span a weekend. Conducive to this is the need to have your assignments, MCQs (multiple choice questionnaires) and lab reports submitted on-time, in addition to other commitments.

The world of STEM is an enchanting realm for curious and fact-loving students. The continuous learning centred on maths, molecules and nature is what both fuels and inevitably exhausts students at the same. Societies are an invaluable respite for those in need of new scenery, ranging from arts-based reconditioning to daily exercise.

Those who miss fictional reading or creative writing make use of groups like the Lit Soc. or DU Players. To reclaim debating skills and improve on public speaking, the Historical and the Philosophical societies are dotted with lateral-thinking and problem-solving STEM students. Unfortunately, elective subjects are inaccessible to a lot of STEM courses, so language and other university subject-related societies provide what a college education often times does not.

With exam season fast approaching, a breath of fresh air and stress relief is what a membership of a sport society can lend a fellow stiff-backed student. The gym remains a daunting place for some students beyond their first year of college, and so a collective group is a more appealing option. Fitting into a STEM student’s timetable nicely are the Climbing Soc. activities.

Their success in recruiting science students may be a product of their complementary schedule, and worth thinking about if a society wishes to have a more course-mixed membership. Clubs that not only add to the student’s schedule, but transform them, are those along the lines of rowing and rugby.

They offer a student a once-in-a-lifetime college experience but are time consuming, increasing their hours as the student graduates from the novice level. Those who can meet the time criterion get the most out of it, but participation and feasibility of regular attendance is worthy of deep-consideration by students.

Societies that highlight certain disciplines of STEM and inspire career prospects also motivate and reignite students in need of job insight. Societies like Sci Soc. and TCD Environmental Soc. are both educational tools and respective portals for students who want to listen to professionals discuss their work and interests.

Student-expert interaction is a great opportunity that allows the student to explore avenues in the wide expanse of STEM. New groups that have made headlines in the college include Women in STEM and Formula Trinity, each set to encourage future members to put their college-learned knowledge to task, as well as promoting networking and community.

Depending on the society, it can be either go-hard-or-go-home when it comes to committee member aspirations. If you want to rise through the ranks and become an active voice on the committee, you have got to attend the rallies and help-out on a regular basis. For a student to get a position on a given committee, from Secretary to Ordinary Committee Member, you are required to give much of your free time towards fulfilling your elected roles whilst staying on-top of college work.

For some this is an overwhelming task, but those who can do it tend to do it well. Their success can be qualitatively seen by their engagement via social media, their newsletters, promotional advertising and their all-important events. Maintaining a position on a committee, while it is no simple task, is an honourable endeavour and students benefit from the efforts of their peers.

Battling continuous assessment and regular study is a hefty undertaking for a STEM student. Luckily societies are present to add fun and variety to a standard week at college. Nailing a balance of work and play, while it might be tricky to schedule at first, is wholly worth the time.

Friendships formed with those outside your course, and conversely from your own, in a smaller group setting are proven to last beyond the four-year limitations of college. They say that societies help shape the minds and characters of students during their college years. Surely if that is true, then joining at least one society of like-minded students would not go a-miss.