Which Society? UWE Linguistics Society
Why did you start the society? I tell people who I want to impress that I set it up because I passionately wanted to spread the good word of linguistics and increase student participation in extra-curricular academic events.
In reality I read this language log post about Edinburgh’s own LangSoc and thought “oh that’d be so cool if we had a society like that at UWE” and got a bit depressed that UWE didn’t have a linguistics society. A few days later I remembered that I was a lazy student who had loads of time to set up a society. I asked some students if they thought a linguistics society should exist, got some friends together to form a committee, a month later we were a proper official society!
What was your position? I was elected as president. To start with this meant I was responsible for nearly every aspect of running a society, but it got a lot easier as the committee grew.
Good things: We had some fantastic lectures and we went on some really fun trips. And I got to work with some brilliant mates and made even more brilliant mates too.
Also, because I ran a linguistic society, I was contacted by David Arnold, a student of the University of Edinburgh, who invited the society to the first Undergraduate Linguistics Association of Britain conference … but that’s another very long story… (click the link to find out!)
Bad things: People kept expecting me to be some kind of linguistics whizz-kid – which was a pity because I’m actually quite stupid. They’d be all like “Tom, you run the linguistics society, do you remember all the rules on Sanskrit morphology” and I’d be all like “no!” then they’d be all like “what about a brief history of marxism in linguistics” and I’d be like “how would I know that?!” then they’d say “oh but you’re the president of the linguistics society, surely you’d know” and then I would have to run away and hide in shame.
Also running a society (*cough* especially a twice-award-winning society *cough*) takes a lot of time – so you need to ensure you stay organised and not let it take over your life!
Anything else: If you’re at university studying linguistics and there isn’t a linguistics/language society near you, set one up! Make sure you’ve got some good people who are just as enthusiastic as you are to work with, and you’re good to go.
And if there is a society near you, get involved in any way that you can – it’s a great way to meet people and have fun, all while pretending you’re only doing it to beef up your CV.