Why you should worry – but not panic – about work counting towards your degree

Marks going towards your degree can scare the holy hell of out of you. But don't forget second year at university is about more than that.
Kim Connor Streich
Kim Connor Streich
Woman wearing academic cap

It’s coming up to crunch time in first semester. Essays due, exams after Christmas, further reading up to your eyeballs. If you weren’t feeling the heat before, you probably are now. Especially if, like me, you got away with slacking in first year because your marks didn’t count.

Second year’s another story. I’m sure you know by now, but second year can count for anywhere between 12.5% and 40% depending on which uni you go to and what course you do. Whatever the case may be, you’d be forgiving for worrying about what you come out with.

However, the key to success is not to panic. Second year can be quite an important time, but you absolutely can handle it. Here’s why:


It only makes it more difficult

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Listen, just chill for a second! It’s true, some of us can’t help but panic in situations like the ones second year will throw up at you. But if you can’t breathe, you can’t study. What we’re trying to say is look after your mental health – you’ve got deadlines, sure, but it’s important to take time for yourself too. If you’re covering something you find difficult, don’t beat yourself up.

Take a break and come back to it. Keep your family and friends in the loop too – they’re the ones that are going to hold you up if you get into trouble.


You’ve got a bit more academic freedom

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The horror of UCAS is a hazy speck in your rear view mirror at this point. But there’s gotta be a reason you chose to do the course that you did. We’re assuming it wasn’t because of all those thrilling ‘good university practice’ modules? Didn’t think so.

Liking what you do makes a huge difference to how well you do it. This year, now you’ve had a chance to pick up things that actually interest you, you should do even better than last year. Can’t argue with that right there. That’s just logic.


Some of second year exists beyond your studies

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No kidding, there’s a life outside of lectures beyond first year. Wouldn’t you like to see it? Frequent Debut readers will know that we lurrrrve extra-curricular activities, and we think you should too. We even wrote a whole piece about why second year is the best time to dive into your hobbies.

Basically, the worst thing you can do at uni these days is go there and just study. Prove to your future employers you’ve got leadership and organisational skills and have fun while you’re at it.


If all else fails, you’ve got final year

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If you have an obsessive penchant for studying, don’t worry. You’ll be doing plenty of that in final year. That’s why it’s so important to reap the benefits of societies in second year – because by final year, it’s pretty much much too late.

The workload is a huge step up and there’s much more independent study that needs to be done. HOWEVER, it’s worth more than second in terms of degree weighting. So here’s the plan – use second year to find your tempo. Experiment with things and plan the way you work best, ready to smash it next year.


There’s help there for you

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If all that doesn’t convince you, just know AT THE VERY LEAST that you don’t have to do this alone. Your lecturers aren’t scary monsters (even the ones that never smile). If you approach them, they’ll definitely help you. Be up front about your struggles before they become issues and take their advice. They’re the experts after all. Do that, and all this second year lark will be a breeze.

Feature image via 20th Century Fox

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