Okay, so the title of this ‘series’ doesn’t really go with this topic as when you’re in Freshers (that’s the first year of university) you couldn’t care less about what’s coming next. Still nonetheless I know hearing about other people’s experiences helped me get prepared and generally just calm my nerves about what was to come and I’m hoping it will do the same for you.
IT GETS HARDER
This is obvious but second year is pretty difficult compared to the first. For many courses this is the year when your grades really count and contribute to something. First year, at many universities, counts for 0% (or a similar small amount) of your final grade so there’s no pressure to do anything other than pass. However your grades in second year do count so there is that pressure to do well, to ensure that your happy with the final result.
As well as this, the work becomes more difficult and you will probably find that you have more deadlines- normally all at once!- than last year as well. For me, I also had exams this year which was a totally new experience as my first year was assignments only. It can feel overwhelming at times but remember that everyone is in the same boat and as long as you organise your time (tips will come soon) you will get everything done, I promise!
IT IS EASIER
So the work isn’t easier but everything else is. Because you’ve spent your first year learning all about your new campus, the basics of your course, your flatmates and accommodation- basically everything outside of the work- you go into this year feeling a lot more comfortable and confident about these areas. Which is a wonderful thing and means you can really knuckle down with your work and the more ‘important’* bits as you’ve got to grips with the rest.
*I personally think that all areas of university, the academic side and the rest, are equally important and it really helps shape who you are and all that. But you know what I mean.
IT’S MORE FUN
As explained above, all your hard work in first year getting used to your surroundings really pays off in second year. Now you’re (hopefully) used to your new city and have a nice group of friends you can just go out and enjoy yourself without worrying about where to go or what to do. By know you’ll have figured out what you like to do best with whoever suits the event the most and that means you can just go for it! You know what clubs hold the best events, where the best shops are and who offers the nicest food and you can just go for it without issue. (As you can tell those are my favourite things to do but everyone is different and I’m sure you’ll find things you love wherever you are).
However, it can be very easy to get stuck into a routine and therefore miss out on all the other fun things happening outside your comfort zones. I know that is something me and my friends struggled with this year. Even though you may feel as though you have learned all there is to know about your new surroundings, take some time to look further because I can guarantee you’ll find something even better you may have just missed last year.
I wish you all the best of luck as you head into whatever year you’re going into. I am so proud of you for getting this far and I hope you have the best time!
If you have any tips for our second years or any tales of your own experience please get in touch and let me know!