Welcome back to part two of three of me rounding up the advice which I feel would have helped me out, or at least reassured me, going into university, whichever year that may be. I feel like second year is often not discussed, it’s noted as a kind of filler year in which supposedly nothing interesting or majorly important happens, but actually it was my favourite year for a lot of reasons. So, here I wanted to talk about a few tips for your second year at university.
1. Your New Workload:
Do you remember how I said it’s a good idea to get into a routine with work in your first year? Well, the truth is, with or without this established routine the second year workload may be a bit of a shock. It’s absolutely do-able but I think it’s worth mentioning that reevaluating your schedule will probably be an action you’ll take in the first few weeks and months of your first semester. Don’t punish yourself for feeling overwhelmed, it’s completely normal, but try your best and chances are you’ll adapt naturally, and if not there’s plenty of resources and people who can help you out, you just have to ask.
2.Trying New Things:
Something unexpected I took from second year was a confidence and new desire to try out some different things. Things felt more settled for me; I had a house and lovely housemate, a group of friends, and more than anything I felt more secure in terms of my work, and even just the simple things of being more familiar with the campus, the library etc.. So I started taking up a few different opportunities, such as becoming a Course Rep, an Equality and Diversity Champion, and joining the gym (and using it regularly). I’d highly recommend reflecting on your first year and thinking about taking on some new opportunities that perhaps would suit you better, as opposed to the more prescribed first year activities, since you’ll be less focused on settling in and no longer feeling the need to be a part of absolutely everything at university.
3.Your New Home:
I know I was very lucky with my second year house, yes it wasn’t exactly aesthetically pleasing, but I had a helpful lettings agency, the location was great and me and my housemate made the place into a comfortable little home. I realise there can often be issues, with unresponsive landlords, gross housing issues etc. (Get in touch with your university, many have a team designed to help fight the corner for students in private lets), but I think the main thing to stress is that either way it will be very different from living in halls…no more assistance from the 24hr Oadby student village reception.
You’ll be responsible for rent, bills, internet, collecting parcels… suddenly everything isn’t bundled up into a package- sit down with your housemates and discuss what needs to be paid and when, and what responsibilities you’d like to share, and if possible leave a written note in a place where everyone has access to as a reminder! However, one great thing to remember is that nine times out of ten the cost of living in your second year house will be significantly lower than what you paid in halls; a little extra cash is always a bonus.
Kind of linked with your workload but, as I am sure you’re aware, second year is when your scores start to count. The key advice I suppose is try not to panic, and do not get discouraged by one mark if isn’t what you were hoping for; your overall grade is made up of averages, and ultimately one bad score will not make a big difference. Use a set back as an opportunity to learn, understand where you went wrong and improve from it. Make an effort to speak to your lecturers about your issues, and keep in mind that your attendance really can impact your grade, regarding how much you are learning and also using those classes as an opportunity to ask questions. A solid set of scores in second year can really help your grade overall, and can truly make the difference between you achieving higher or lower accolades.
I say this with all sincerity; second year is often the year graduates remember most fondly, for the year in which they had a handle on their work load but also felt confident and settled into their university life. Usually second year is a little calmer but can nonetheless set you up for the crucial year to come; listen up about what you’ll be undertaking and work hard, it’ll save you a lot of stress in your final year if you have the assurance of a fantastic second year behind you.
And finally, as a personal note, I highly recommend the summer after second year as a time to get out on an adventure…the applications for the Disney Cultural Exchange Programme open each July for the following summer, so not long to go if you’re a university student considering applying (you must have completed at least one year of university before applying) for Summer 2020! Truly could not recommend it enough, but, really, any adventure will do…
Take Care Everyone, I’ll Speak to You All Soon!