One of the best ways I have been able to meet local students and be immersed in the campus life at Queen’s is through student involvement.
The first step to getting involved was attending Queen’s Fresher’s Fair. Similar to DU’s pioneer carnival, clubs and societies set up tables for you to explore every aspect of what social life at Queens has to offer. The event was overwhelming with all the opportunities being presented. Many of the clubs charged fees, but early sign up often meant discounts. I chose to weigh my options, however, and took a lot of brochures, rather than joining too many clubs on the spot. I knew I wanted to make my time at Queen’s count, so I was hesitant to spread myself too thin.
Excitedly, however, I did manager to get my name on a few too many lists, and once I returned back to my house, I was trying to prioritize. I decided on writing for the Student’s Union Magazine and trying to put together a show for Queen’s Radio.
The magazine was a neat idea, but because it was a new society, the organization struggled a bit. I did officially write three articles for them, and met a few people at our meetings. One of my stories was a review of an open stage night the theater society hosted. This was a great experience, and although it was an indirect effect of joining the magazine, it lead to meeting more people and enjoying a night of goofy theatrical acts and socializing after.
The Radio, was a totally different story. When I attended the first meeting, PJ, Belgian guy from my house was there. We got to talking and found we had signed up for almost all the same clubs. Excitedly, we decided to explore the idea of doing a show together. We signed up for a training time, and even the Radio Manager said we had great names for DJs: Jessie and PJ, they just go together.
I can honestly say that without doing the radio show my life at Queen’s would have been desperately different. I got to meet people through the station, I got radio experience as well as script writing experience, but most importantly I made my best abroad relationship. PJ, my cohost, turned out to be one of my closest friends. We spent an hour doing the show each week, but we also spent about 2-3 planning and writing the themes and goofy scripts that included fictional interviews and creative news stories, oh and music to match the theme. We would get so off track during the planning, laughing and joking about everything; those are memories I wouldn’t trade for the world. We eventually became close to inseparable, and he has been a great person to have since I started my life in Belfast. We would go to the theater, the gym, dancing, even karaoke together; both of us keen on seeing Belfast.
It was really cool to write and work with someone who has English as a second language, I got to help teach vocabulary as well as learn about Dutch phrases and sayings. The radio show really teased out a lot of cultural differences that created space for conversation. Some of the most basic topics would spark in depth discussions, and I ended up learning quite a lot about Belgium! Not to mention working on a project gave me some structure to every week and helped PJ and I stay focused on planning our weeks to leave time for writing.
A Little Bit of P&J will be concluding this week in a final holiday addition. You can listen for yourself Friday at 3pm (Blefast time) which is 8am MST right HERE. We also repost our shows as podcasts which you can check out HERE.