This time last year I was finishing my first year of University kind of hopeless for the year ahead, hoping to get a few more friends and totally not ready to start the second year of my degree.
I didn’t have the typical first-year experience at Uni that everyone talks about, I spent most of my time in my room procrastinating and not going out to meet new people. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t say it was awful, but it certainly wasn’t something I’d like to relive anytime soon. To be completely honest, I was really unsure about the year to come but hopeful that it would be better than my first. As September rolled around my nerves were through the roof every day, what was really going to happen? How would I deal with another year away from home if it was as bad as the year before? I had no idea and that was more than scary.
Slowly, that dreaded moving day came around again,
except for this time I wasn’t as excited as I had been to move into my first-year accommodation. Don’t get me wrong, I was moving in with one of my friends and a girl she was friendly with which was a positive, but I just couldn’t stand the thought of another year away hating everything. Long story short, my second year of University has been one of the best years of my life, I’ve become best friends with 4 other girls and we are literally unstoppable. Two of them are graduating in July though which means next year there will only be 3 of us, but I’m sure we’ll still have many drunken nights out the 5 of us.
Second year has taught me a lot, and I would absolutely love to do it all again. I’ve been doing pretty well in all my exams and assignments as well as excelling in my social life meeting lots of new people and widening my social circle (with I wanted to originally do in the first year!). And I’m sat here getting emotional over the fact that I’ve only got one more year at University before I have to start actually being an adult and get a ‘proper’ career or job. Despite not having the most amazing first year, I thought I’d list a few things I’ve learnt this year which are definitely on the more positive side of things rather than the negative.
1. If you keep on top of things, Uni coursework and exams aren’t as difficult as they initially pose themselves to be.
During my first semester at Uni I didn’t really understand the amount of effort you have to put into the work you do. It’s definitely a more independent form of learning and nobody is going to tell you to submit a piece of work but if you’re organised you’ll remember yourself. Thus, meaning you do a lot better, which is how I boosted my grades in second year – it was all about effort.
2. When you live with your friends, you know everything about them.
There’s not much else I can say except you will know everything about them, from the last time they went for a shit to their ingrown hairs, it’s gross but I’ve got to admit, it’s a special form of friendship and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
3. Lecturers want to help and speak to you.
First year is so daunting when you’re presented with thousands of students in your Uni, and people often think that lecturers won’t want to help and support you – it’s surprising how many will actually help you out when you need it and there’s absolutely nothing to be scared about.
4. Making use of the Universities facilities is great.
Whether it’s attending a workshop or setting up your own society, there is so much you can do! People complain about the amount we get ourselves in debt for by attending university when the lecturers just read from PowerPoints, whilst this is annoying there is actually a lot of other things you can do to make the most out of your university experience.
5. Even if you try to clean up, student accommodation kitchens will always be dirty.
I’ve just learnt to embrace the constant dishes in the sink and various pieces of mould around the plates all the time.
6. Drunken nights are always the best
and vodbulls despite being great for getting you drunk quickly can be absolutely lethal for those who can’t handle them.
7. Food markets are the place to be if you want to save money.
Forget Aldi or even Lidl if you’re wanting fresh veg and fruit then you should utilize your local market for everything if you go at the end of the day everything is a lot cheaper too! The only downside is that nothing has expiration dates on, so you’ve got to just go with it and guess for the most part.
8. Stir fry is one of the easiest and yummiest meals to cook,
especially if you’re in a rush and can’t really be bothered making anything.
9. The library and coffee shops are your best friend during exam and coursework season.
Everyone else thinks that too so go prepared to fight for a seat. There have been many days I have had to wait awhile for a good seat in Uni but when I’ve got it I haven’t left till 8 or 9pm!
10. Sleeping too much can actually do you more harm than good.
It’s essential you get enough sleep to get you through the day but if you get yourself into the habit of sleeping until 3pm after staying up late and you’re having 14 or more hours of sleep a night then you’ll find you’re more tired than with just the standard 8 hours. It’s great to have a lie in every now and again but try sticking to a sleeping schedule and you’ll find yourself much more productive.
Hopefully, all of these things I’ve learnt during my second year of university will help you in some way, even if you’re not attending university there are a few in there which can be generalised to everyone.
It’s strange because I never thought this time last year that I’d be sitting here writing about how great my second year has been. Bring on the third and final year of my degree, and the rest of my life (but not too fast, that’s scary!)