Written by Rose Korner
Before I came to Leeds to begin my degree, the overflow of ideas and imaginings of what I would be doing seemed endless. My secondary school years had been my happiest, where I made my friends for life. I often asked myself, ‘surely uni would be the same, if not better, living with my friends, no parents lingering over me?’ I had participated in plays, musicals, choirs, and other after school activities, which often give students a feeling of their place in the school, other than only focusing on academics. These activities are where students form their friendships and start to feel a connection to the institution that gave them such happiness and close bonds. My greatest memories of Camden School are from these after school clubs; the Peter Pan play in year 9 when I played the Indian chief and wore a massive hot itchy carpet and head dress, when we played munchkins in the wizard of OZ singing ‘we’re off to see the wizard’, when I belted out Stevie Wonder songs in the Jazz choir with my closest friends. These were the best and in some ways my most formative years.
The first few weeks of university were new and exciting, and the expectations everyone has can often be enormous; I know mine were. I was extremely lonely and disappointed for a lot of my first year and since then I have spoken to numerous friends who all felt the same way, just nobody ever spoke about it! The easiest way to meet people would have been to join a society and I looked into this constantly, as I had always liked to be involved in social activities and had always imagined myself being part of a society. There seemed to be no society that truly represented me or one that I felt I was completely comfortable being a part of. The feminist society was the closest that related to me but where were the drama or the singing societies?
One day I was browsing the mybeckett page trawling through the different societies and there I saw the hula hooping society. Hula hooping was not something that I instantly associated myself with (I had a hoop but that was about it) however I was immediately eager to look into it. Martha Pedler, who runs the hula hooping society, messaged me asking if I was interested in helping her as I had expressed a bit of curiosity but I was worried about joining as I had only ever practiced hooping in my room and thought that I was nowhere near good enough to teach it. I’d always assumed hooping was for very sporty people with abs, or talented acrobatic, gymnastic types, I was happily surprised to be proved wrong. If it is something you have never considered or had any interest in whatsoever, think again! Boy, girl, tall, short, fit, never gone for a jog in your life (like me), then reconsider, come along and give it a try!
The hooping society is a great place to meet friends, pick up a new and unusual skill, get fit, or just come to have fun.
It is the most relaxed and casual society so there is no pressure at all, you don’t have to know how to hoop or you can be a professional hooper, everyone is at different levels. The aspect of this society I love the most is that nothing is dismissed everyone can make contributions. If there is a trick you have done or a little routine then let it be known, or just come to learn or watch tricks done by the talented Ms Pedler and other peers.
I asked one of the societies members, Charlotte Dew, a few questions about why she comes along:
What do you like about the society and why?
‘It’s something different and I enjoy learning a new skill- it’s interesting!’
What tricks can you do?
‘I’ve learnt some isolations, how to do an escalator, keeping the hoop in the air, the flip routine and am still in progress of taking the hoop off the body’
What would you tell others who have never tried hooping before but might be interested in coming along?
‘It’s a great place to meet some friendly people and learn an unusual skill’