There are very good reasons to join a student society. And equally good reasons not to. How do first-years see the issue? Are you signing up?
Starting a BSc in Nutrition and Health, from Deventer
'For sure. I can't decide between Ceres and KSV. I am sub-renting a room in a Ceres house, and it's really friendly. My 'dads' are in the KSV. They are trying not to be biased, but they don't always succeed, haha! I think I could feel at home in either Ceres or the KSV. So I think it's a pity you have to rule out one of the societies. I think it would be ideal to be able to go to different societies at different times. But once you've joined one it seems you can only go to another one for an open party.'
Helga van der Jagt
Starting an MSc in Biology, did her Bachelor's at VU Amsterdam
'No. I am 21 and I don't fancy going through a hazing with a bunch of 17-year-old first-years. I am probably too individualistic for a social club too. There are so many obligations that I think, no thanks. My mentor mothers are not members either.'
BSC Applied Communication Sciences, from Hilversum
'I shall definitely join. I want to be as active as I can. If you join it's easier to meet people. That's better than sitting at home. It is very different here to the way it was in high school: much more open. I want to check out what is on offer, I'm just curious. SSR has made the best impression on me. And they have a garden! My mentor mums are SSR members. Officially they are supposed to stay neutral. And they do try to do so, but of course it is not possible to stay objective. That is logical because they can tell you more about their own society. You often find the 'kids' choosing the same as the mentors.'
MSc Food Technology, from Germany
'I am not sure yet. I am not so familiar with the concept, as it is not usual in Germany to join a social club. I am keen to get to know people from different countries, and I suspect there are better ways of doing that.'
BSc Biology, from Beneden-Leeuwen
'No. I am still living at home so that makes it difficult. It is fun and it's good to get to know new people. I'll first take my time and see how my studies go. It's all new for me. And I will join the study association and a sports club. My dads are members of Ceres but they leave us to choose for ourselves. The slow student fine is not a factor, as I think I will make it.'
Food Technology at VHL, from Mexico
'I haven't given it any thought yet, actually. Of course it can help you to get to know people better, but since I am not Dutch it would be harder to get involved in society life. For that I would have to learn Dutch. I am considering a swimming club as I've always enjoyed sports and I have also swum at home.'
BSc Food Technology, from Sint Oedenrode
'Yes. I am new here, so I need to meet people. You can do that through your courses but I want to widen my horizons. You can't study all the time, you need to relax as well. There is no knowing yet whether I will be affected by the slow student fine. But it doesn't affect my decisions now. I am staying in a KSV house at the moment and it's good fun. I am going to take a look at Ceres and SSR and make a decision at the end of the AID. My mentor mum is a member of SSR but she says I should join the society I like best myself.'
Regional Development and Innovation, from Veghel:
'No, probably not. You have to sign up now already whereas I really don't know yet what it entails. Perhaps next year. The most important thing now is studying. So I don't want any obligations, and I think you get more of those in the social clubs than in other kinds of clubs. I am going to take a look at the amateur dramatics society.'
BSc International Development Studies, from Oosterbeek:
'I am still hesitating between KSV and Ceres. I am not afraid of the slow student fine. You can see the societies take that into consideration. And rightly so, they shouldn't make a problem of it if you miss a drinks party because you have an exam the next day. Most activities are voluntary anyway; I think only the introduction week is compulsory. And you can decide for yourself how much time you put into it.'
BSc Biology, from Apeldoorn:
'I will go on living at home. To me it's easy that everything is organized for me, but I still have to see whether the commuting is doable. In any case it wouldn't be handy for me to join a student society.'