Should you join RAMSOC?
How to know if Ramsoc is the right club for you:
Committing to joining a club at university can seem like a stressful task, especially if you don’t know if you will enjoy it. Answer this quiz to find out if you belong to our wonderful Rambling and Hiking Club!
Which description do you fit best?
A. I love walking and am incredibly fit. I am also really great at making conversation, particularly at pubs. I am currently studying engineering.
B. I quite like walking and can make it up Portland Hill without dying. The pub isn’t really my thing but I’d love to make some new friends. I study some kind of science.
C. I hate walking, have no sense of direction, and have to lie down after a walk round the lake. I do love pubs but am much better at drinking alone and watching Netflix. I’m in Humanities, and have no understanding of basic scientific concepts. I have no interests.
Well, of course this club is for you, and we can’t wait to welcome you aboard! You’re going to love our challenging walks, especially on our frequent weekends away to explore other parts of the British Isles. And make sure to keep your Wednesdays free for all of our amazing socials – can’t wait to see you at Cheese and Wine night!
B is for ‘Boy, are you going to love Ramsoc!’ We know that this might not have been number one on your list, but we hope to grow on you, like lush, green moss on one of the many beautiful trees we get to walk past on our rambles. Sundays are a tricky day to plan at uni, so we hope that you let us plan it for you. And don’t worry if you don’t like the pub – our Wednesday socials are full of exciting activities. Just check out our calendar!
Read on. This is a love letter from a past C (now B, has dreams of one day becoming an A), in the hope that you will join the society that has given her such unexpected joy.
I spent most of my first year at university visiting the Cat Café, eating custard creams, and drinking wine (sometimes simultaneously), and I honestly had a really great year. When it came time to choose new activities for second year, however, I knew I should explore my passions, and I remember scrolling all the way through the SU Clubs and Societies page to realise that I actually had none. There was nothing that I was interested in. I chose Rambling and Hiking Society by a process of elimination, and because all my housemates went to church/were hungover/both, which made Sundays rather lonely.
On my first Ramsoc walk to Castleton, we stopped at a lovely village called Hope. With hindsight, I can enjoy the beautiful symbolism of that. At the time, however, we started to scale a hill so steep that it left me focusing on where they would be able to land the emergency helicopter to rescue me. But what struck me, and still completely confounds me, is that people stuck by me despite the volume of my cursing. And it wasn’t just because they were legally obligated to (though that was part of it – Ramsoc is excellent at following protocol), but because everyone there is just really nice. And that is underrated.
In the weeks that followed, my university world was transformed. At the beginning, getting to know As and Bs (and attempting to talk to them whilst walking uphill) filled me with self-loathing and a worry that I would never fit in. But that soon changed when I realised they were just super cool people, like you and I. I discovered that engineers have a wonderful sense of humour and a fascination for the arts, and that even very athletic people need a break – they are human! And I got to make friends surrounded by our green and pleasant land (and some mud and some cows and, twice, a sheep’s carcass). One of the coolest things is meeting people from all over the world, and getting to be their first port of call for understanding England. One of the best conversations I’ve ever had in my life was trying to describe to an international student what a goat is. “Umm…it’s like if a sheep lost some weight and also kinda looked like my grandpa?”
By walking, you get to experience the beauty of everything we have in this world, whether that’s the view at the top of Scafell Pike, or a warm shower after a snowy walk. Believe me, never will your cooking have tasted so good than when you’re eating it for lunch behind a boulder whilst sheltering from the rain. And that warm glow you feel after a pint of cider will be tripled when drinking it with new friends. There will also be some parts of Ramsoc that will surprise you. I discovered that I loved clubbing, with a group of people that I’d only ever seen in raincoats and walking boots (and damn, did they look good). Ramsoc made me say something I never thought I would say, that flat roads are not always better than hills. I also found out that human beings can walk faster than buses when walking back from town with experienced ramblers (I trailed behind).
But that brings me to a good point – will you be any fitter after joining Ramsoc? Well, I like to think so. The two flights of stairs in my Lenton house definitely became easier, and I think Ramsoc makes exercise enjoyable to unfit and non-competitive people (both me). I used to be like an opossum in that if I sensed too much movement I would lie down and play dead. Now I’m more like a…tortoise? Rhino? Jellyfish? I’m not very good at animal metaphors… But I do know that I exercise much more – currently I’m swimming every day and have joined an underwater hockey team, because once you join one eccentric sport, you can’t go back. And Ramsoc definitely motivated me to start getting fitter, because I can’t wait to return from my year abroad and try out some higher level walks.
If I was really talking to Joanna-from-a-year-ago, I don’t think she would want to be fitter, or climb bigger hills. I know she definitely wouldn’t like the mud or the rain. But I know that she would jump at the chance to see more of England (and get some Insta followers for her filter-free snaps of Snowdon). I know that she’d love having something on her schedule every week to look forward to, and people there every week to look forward to. It’s even better that those people are charming and funny and kind and incredibly attractive (I was not paid to say this, but am willing to accept gifts).
And I know that she would like to see me, one year on from joining Ramsoc. No huge changes, but walking taller, small-talk better, a little bit worse at holding her liquor, and definitely smiling a little wider.
To my Cs, I really hope you have as rewarding a year at Ramsoc as I did.
All the best,
Proud Ramsoc member <...and honorary RamSoc Blog Manager>