You’re not Alone!

How I overcame the Fear of Isolation through joining sports societies

I want to help you to overcome a feeling everyone knows, but no one wants to talk about, the fear of not catching up with your fellow students and not making friends at university. In sports, I have discovered my chance to overcome this fear.

Everyone’s been in that uncomfortable situation, either at a party, a conference or a dinner. You are at a new place, surrounded by people you don’t know and you’re trying to get stuck into the conversation. With sharing my fears, experiences and how I managed to have a great start at university, I want to help you overcome this fear as well.

New friends can entice you towards sports you hadn’t considered doing before. Just be open to something different. (Photo: Sebastian Pfister)


It All Begins with Uncertainty

I can still perfectly remember the thoughts that popped up in my head when I entered the shuttle to Stirling. How will my flatmates be? And my classmates? Will I be able to get to know other people and, finally, will I make those friends for the rest of my life everyone discusses? It’s a natural human habit to have those kinds of thoughts. So, I can empathies and understand you.

In my head, I developed different scenarios, if I don’t get along with my flatmates – I’ll just try to get to know the people from the flat above me. And I will have a look for different Facebook groups with German members and international students. Another idea was to join one of the sports societies I had read about on the universities website.

Luckily, as I can now say, almost two months later, it all came differently. Here’s why.


How Joining Specific Sports Societies Helped Me

Harriet and I are now running every week on Thursday 1:30pm.
If you’re still looking for a running buddy or someone to catch up with, feel free to join! (Photo: Sebastian Pfister)

I am most probably not a super sporty person. I enjoy running, I watch a lot of different sports, but I wouldn’t be able to lift a lot of weights. I am just a tall, thin, usual student who found his way to one of the sportiest universities in Great Britain. As I already mentioned, joining a sports society was part of my plan to meet other students, and I decided to give the Triathlon and Mountaineering Group a try.

I didn’t find a running group, so I figured out that triathlon might be the best alternative to go for. And I had no idea about climbing or hiking, but they said it was suited for both beginners and experts and I liked the idea of walking through the famous Highlands. Both societies’ presidents were really helpful and responded quickly. Remember, there are no stupid questions, just stupid answers, and each societies’ president will try to help you as much as they can, that’s what I experienced anyways.

I have some experience when it comes to running and the right execution of its exercises. That’s why I was able to help another new member of the triathlon group, Harriet, to improve, and she really appreciated it. In return, she offered to help me whenever I had a problem or question about university. We enjoyed talking and decided to go for a private run which would be better suited for having a conversation than the triathlon classes. She benefited from my modest running experience, and I got to know about Scotland, its politics, the best pubs in town and got support with everything around the university.



Kieran is one of those fail-safe friends I met who will
take care of me in every situation. (Photo: Sebastian Pfister)

My start at the mountaineering society was a little different. Here, I was the one who had to ask for help and advice and was dependent on the others. But again, I could count on the powerful community within the society. Kieran, a well-experienced Scottish climber, offered me the opportunity to join him for an outdoor climb. Andy, the societies president, convinced me to join them for a hike, although I have never been to a hike, and I wasn’t at all prepared for hiking during Scottish weather. Both insisted on providing me with either the clubs’ or their own equipment since so far, I never even thought about buying hiking shoes.




Exceeding all My Expectations

Now, I am hiking every second weekend, getting to know the Scottish countryside and new people, and in a couple of days, we will even make a three-day trip to Glen Coe. So far, I had the chance to get some valuable insights into climbing under the instruction of a proficient student, and I regularly enjoy my runs with Harriet who always has an open ear for my stories and questions.

I am convinced that YOU will make similar experiences if you give the sports societies a try. I met people who helped me in different situations, made me excited about new sports and gave me insights into their culture. And, honestly, that’s more than I could have asked for at the beginning of my chapter in Stirling.

You may also like...