For many of you entering into your second year at university, the furore of your first year will somewhat wear off with the rapid realisation that the real work starts here. Where your university lifestyle may alter from the fun, carefree package delivered to you by first year, second year brings a coherent sense of responsibility. However there is no reason why it can’t be on a par with your first year at University and still give you grand memories – albeit for different reasons.
Learning to embrace the changes that your second year brings and enjoying the opportunities available to you is crucial in enjoying university life. Let’s face facts, we all like to moan about the work that we have on from time to time; yet let’s not forget the primary function of university, and why we decided to come here. An increased workload with a decreased social life doesn’t have to equate to a boring, uneventful year.
Party? What party?
Acknowledging the right and wrong times to let loose is part and parcel of second year. Whereas in first year you hardly had a care in the world, managing to socialise five nights each week, second year brings the element of careful choice and consideration. This doesn’t necessarily mean locking yourself up in your room with a mountain of books the size of the Empire State Building. It just means going out every night will not allow you to reach your academic potential. What is interesting, if you speak to those in their second or third years of study, is that many of them will tell you social events are far more enjoyable when they are not as consistent/they’ve had a productive day’s work.
Those things called lectures
First year attendance to lectures and seminars can truthfully be referred to as mediocre at best for a lot of students. I myself will hold my hands up and say that I can’t confirm I attended 100% of my scheduled timetable (sorry, Mum). Second year is a different matter entirely, however, as the work you are undertaking has an impact on your overall degree class. It is good to get off to a winning start as now is the time to become immersed with your subject, and to clarify why you decided to study your particular area. You will find that not attending lectures will cause you to lose track on the focus of your work, and leave you with blank patches when it comes to revising. You’re paying a considerable amount for your education – make the most of it.
The library – don’t fear it
Many of you may not have ever braved visiting the library during your first year. This is a habit best knocked on the head as quickly as possible, as life with the library on side makes your academic study that bit easier. Not only is it home to these rare and ancient artefacts called books – it can be an important and useful area of study. Aside from the distractions at home from the likes of FIFA, the library can help you focus even if only for a couple of hours or so.
Second year brings with it a more rigid sense of responsibility with your finances. As the vast majority of students move out of halls and into student housing, there are a fair few more factors to consider. With having to set up bill payments for water, electricity, internet etc. you have to take that step into adulthood and take responsibility for these matters. Try to avoid seeing this as a chore; instead, accept and embrace the added responsibility while capably managing your assets. And if you’re finding it difficult, we have compiled a list of great tips every student needs for living on a budget.
Having to sign up to accommodation for your second year comes around very quickly from the start of your university career. This means choosing your future housemates is a decision you have to make after only a few months of meeting them. While some groups settle in quickly and get on like a house on fire, others have underlying complications with a mix of personalities living under one roof. While we hope this doesn’t occur, it is sadly inevitable in some cases. However, there are measures you can take to improve the situation. Don’t forget that your house is only for a year. Many students choose to live with different housemates for their final year of study. This doesn’t mean you have to lose contact with your previous housemates; it’s sometimes just a good opportunity to freshen things up a little. Branching out on your course or through groups and societies will allow you to broaden your friendship group, and give you more living options for your final year. In the meantime mediate any problematic situations by not interfering too heavily and spending more time with the people you get on with. It could be worse – you could be living with Jedward!
With a new September dawning a whole host of companies begin advertising their summer placements which can be found through various internet sources such as Target Jobs and Totaljobs. Earning a summer internship will allow you real world experience in whatever sector you choose. These schemes are looked on very well by employers, plus it gives you the opportunity to understand what potential future career path you would like to follow. Visiting the careers fairs on campus will allow you to network with some of these companies/employers, and will help you to understand what they do, and can offer. This can be invaluable experience when it comes to determining where you would like to apply, and I cannot stress enough how useful these placements can be.
Adding to your CV by being involved in clubs and groups, or by having a part-time job, will really help to strengthen your prospective application(s). Furthermore contact your on campus careers advisors who can help with your CV or any application forms. Organising a spring or summer internship will really help your cause when it comes to apply for a graduate job.
Second year blues can be a thing of the past so long as you enjoy the changes and challenges it brings, and allow yourself to manage the responsibility accordingly. Having a hold on the encounters you face will give you an extra edge on both your academic studies and life after university. You can still more than go out and enjoy yourself, while balancing all the other aspects of your life. So go ahead and have fun, allowing yourself the success you are more than capable of achieving.
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