Photo credit: DrawSoc

DrawSoc are one of the newer societies on campus, having formed in recent years. Edith Donnelly talks about her experience of getting involved with DrawSoc, and the effect it had on her first year experience.

Let’s get one thing straight: anybody who says starting college is easy is a liar. Trying something new is never as easy as anybody makes it seem, and college is no exception. There’s a jump into a new environment that goes against everything that had been drilled into our heads in secondary school. There’s also the stress of trying to make people like you, and making friends without them knowing that behind the great smile is internal screaming.

That’s just my experience, and it’s different for every other fresher attending any college. What’s great – and not great – about UCD is how vast everything is. The multitude of societies that go hand in hand with the lifestyle of the average student is one of the highlights of going to university. The problem with the amount of societies, though, is figuring out which ones to join, or even knowing what societies are there in the first place. This brings me to my experience with DrawSoc.

It’s brought a heightened sense of colour to my college experience that I can only see getting brighter.”

I love drawing. It’s easier than doing normal work and far more enjoyable, so what’s not to love? Art is everywhere, and on everything. Although I decided not to attend art college because I need a job at some point (pray for art students everywhere), I still love to draw. But with the vast array of new courses and subjects being thrown at me, I noticed that I had very little time to actually do the things I love. I was too busy trying to find enjoyment in the new things.

Losing passion for something that’s previously been central to your life is a pretty big smack in the face. I needed an outlet to keep my hobby alive. The only thing bigger than a smack in the face at the thought of losing your hobby is the even bigger smack in the face when you find the perfect solution. For me, as you might have guessed, the solution was DrawSoc. Among the talk of the Classical Society, Arts Society, Japanese Society and Game Society, I had never once heard of DrawSoc. In a way I felt a little foolish; I mean, of course there’s a visual arts society, why wouldn’t there be one? A lot of people don’t have a clue about it, though, and not long ago that included me.

Among other societies I joined, I mustered up the courage to visit the DrawSoc table in Freshers’ Week and get myself a membership card. This is no mean feat when you’re a smaller-than-average Fresher surrounded by way too many older students in the bustle of the Freshers’ Tent. Pushing myself to join the society has to be one of the best decisions I’ve made since I came to UCD. Societies hold events every week, and DrawSoc is no different. What is different is the variety of activities that the members bring to each week’s classes. I think that’s what drew me into the society, along with the overwhelmingly friendly atmosphere that seems to flow out of people.

For anyone not familiar with the society or who has only heard snippets: DrawSoc is not a life-drawing society. From watercolors to pastels, photography classes to art gallery trips, guest artist workshops to flash-fiction graphic novel introductions with LitSoc, DrawSoc offers much more than just people drawing other people. I’ve found it to be a little niche in college life where you can sit back and create new things, try new things you’ve been too nervous to try, and meet new people you can soon call good friends.

As a fresher, college never seems to get easier, and new challenges tend to hit you whenever you’ve just conquered one. That’s why it’s so important to keep up with your hobbies and keep the spark alive. I’ve met first years just like me who find themselves drawing in lectures and classes because they think that’s the only time they have to do it, not knowing there is a society on campus for exactly that. In a University that can make you feel a little too small and hidden in the crowds, DrawSoc provides events where you can express your passions and talents that make you who you are. There’s an exhibition at the end of every year that displays your artwork, the work that you can feel proud of creating for others to see. Art is a form of expression, and DrawSoc provides an outlet to express yourself, and to do so through a wide array of mediums.

The concept of “art” is as abstract as anything you’ll ever come across, but that’s no reason not to try it out. Some people who think they can’t draw, or that they can only draw stickmen, seem to think they won’t qualify to become a member. If that’s how you feel about your skills as an artist, though, what have you got to lose? If I can learn how to play a new game with GameSoc, or discover a newfound love for anime with the Japanese Society, it’s just as possible to find a brand new liking for drawing, or the art of creation itself with DrawSoc.

DrawSoc has been such a major part of my UCD life that I applied to become a committee member – a task that proved highly rewarding considering all the new, fantastically interesting individuals I’ve met and the fun that comes with being around them. College life for me so far has been nothing but excitement and freedom, mixed in with the inevitable stress of assignments and whatnot.

Being a fresher in such a large university comes with its hardships, but the friends you make and the bonds you share can help you feel like you’re part of a big family, rather than a massive cluster of anonymous students. That’s what DrawSoc has done for me. It’s brought a heightened sense of colour to my college experience that I can only see getting brighter. Art isn’t restricted to a ‘talented’ minority, and the entire spectrum is out there for everybody to enjoy. If you feel like you could be brave enough to pick up a pencil or paintbrush, or you want to create something new with your own hands, DrawSoc are always around if you need an extra little push to help make it happen.