going to university isn't just about working hard. It's also about meeting new people and having new experiences. And what better way than to join a club?
University or college is a time for freedom. Fortunately for you, the next few years will give you a chance to have all kinds of different experiences, in an environment that you will never have again. Student Unions across the country organise all manner of different activities for you, which you can sign up to at the infamous "freshers fairs", where all the different societies set up stands and try to persuade you to part with your cash.

Apart from the more mainstream societies such as the chess club, the drama society or the history society, there are other activities which broaden the mind and push your bodies to the limit!

The University of Bristol is renowned for the number and range of student societies it offers. Over 170 different societies and organisations offer everything from archaeology to yoga, ballroom dancing to waterskiing.

Naz Sarkar, President of the Student Union at Bristol University, is full of praise for the role these societies play: "We receive a central grant which means we can subsidise the activities on offer, making them affordable for all students. Coming to university is about more than just academic learning; it's about learning all kinds of different things and getting a load of fun out of it as well.

"It's good experience for students to take on responsibilities and organise a society, which helps people immensely when it comes to getting jobs. So many people are getting degrees, it makes it a lot easier for graduates to get work if they can demonstrate how they became involved in more than just their degree."

How about getting some balance in your life at the T'ai Chi society, where you can practise the Chinese form of exercise and self-defence? Or try out Massage and Shiatsu. If nothing else, you'll make a load of friends who'll want to experience your new massaging skills!

You could also try out the Jazz Funk and Soul Connection, or Cuba Viva. Or you could submit to those raging passions and let your life be overwhelmed by the Chocolate Society! And it's anyone's guess as to what Bewilderbeeste is all about.

It's all very well trying completely new activities that you have no idea about. But it's worth considering doing something that you already have an interest in and would like to take forward. Perhaps it is something you want to do as a career, like working on a student newspaper or radio station. There are plenty of them around, and if you're a success you can go far.

Glasgow University has an organisation called GUST (Glasgow University Student Television). Students get to make their own programmes at the college and show them on the campus-wide cable television network. GUST has around 40 members. Alistair Craigmile, Technical Coordinator, says: "We have 10 full-time posts, but the rest can come and go as they please. There are always jobs available. A few people are on related degree courses, but most people are there for the experience."

Not only is joining GUST free, but they also lend their equipment to others who want to make their own films, also for free. So, any budding Quentin Tarantinos out there?

Or how about getting yourself REALLY active. Activities such as hang- gliding or parachuting are inordinately expensive if you go to private organisations. But many universities and colleges organise these at a fraction of the price.

The University of Sheffield Hang-Gliding Club takes students to the Derbyshire Flying Centre in the Peak District National Park, where students of all abilities can hurl themselves from high places in to the bright blue sky in a stunning part of the country. Club members get massive discounts for training, so don't hang around.

And if you are worried about fitting in and making friends, then think about this. Your friends are usually the people you have lots in common with, and have similar interests and passions. What better way of meeting new people and settling down in your new life than to join up with a society you are interested in, whether it is something you've done before, or something you've always dreamed of doing. Give it a go - you've got nothing to lose.