My introduction to ISoc was a lot later than most; I didn’t start going to events until the end of first year. Whilst I signed up at the Freshers’ fair, joined the Whatsapp group and followed the Facebook page to keep up to date with events, in Freshers’ Week of first year, I was so busy that I felt I didn’t have time to go to ISoc events without missing out on things going on in college. From then on I had excuse after excuse not to attend – I had an essay to write, an evening supervision, a formal to attend, early morning rowing the next day, I didn’t know anyone…
However, when I did eventually start going, I found I genuinely really enjoyed it and didn’t know what I’d been waiting for. I only really went to the social events, but found that these were so much fun for meeting new friends, who were not only experiencing the same Cambridge struggles of juggling supervision essays with meeting friends with extracurriculars etc. but who were also experiencing the same struggles which came with being a Muslim in Cambridge. This was especially true as I started wearing hijab at the start of my second year, something which I can definitely thank Cambridge for giving me the confidence to do. Whilst my college friends were all incredibly supportive, going to ISoc events and spending time with other hijabi girls helped me to feel like I still fit in and allowed me to spend time with people who related to this new identity. Not only was it great to have a group of Muslim friends, but I also loved just being able escape from the dramas of college life and spend time with a group of people who weren’t constantly arguing over the room ballot or the dirty dishes in the kitchen.
In third year, I had the opportunity to be part of the Design Subcommittee, which involved making posters, leaflets and social media posts for any events ISoc were holding. This was such a fun experience and allowed me to play a bigger part in the society and to contribute towards it’s running. I definitely learned a lot of new and useful skills too, so it was also a great addition to the CV!
So whilst I never really got involved with the religious side of ISoc, it definitely gave me so much, and I can wholeheartedly say that I am so glad I decided to start going to these events, and I hope I will stay close with my ISoc friends for years to come. So my one recommendation to any incoming freshers – don’t wait for a year like I did! Even if you only go to one event a term, even if you are only interested in the social side like I was, go, because I can guarantee you you’ll have a great time, and all those college events and friendships will still be there for you when you get back.