This post is written by a member of the Debut Student Publisher Network. Read on for Christine’s thoughts on the most divisive year of uni:
Ah, second year. It’s the period of flux between being a keen Fresher and a cynical finalist. For those of you who think it’s the worst, it’s the absolute pits. But then there are some of you rare birds who actually think it’s the best year of them all. We thought to take a closer look.
1. The worst: living off-campus
For students who spent their first years in halls, this is going to be a shock. Now you have to deal with bills, no heating and crazy landlords like – GASP – a grown adult.
With halls, you had a preordained group of people you could could to befriend or ignore at your own pace. It didn’t really matter either way. Now, you’re thrust into a world where you have to collaborate on paying money for your own Internet connection.
2. The best: living off-campus
On the other hand, this is one of the biggest steps into adulthood you’ll take in your life. It’s super exciting and provides a lot of freedom. Not to mention, living off-campus you’ll generally find yourself in a uni town.
It’s pretty cool getting to know a whole new area. If you’re lucky, you’ll find some hidden gems around town. There’s only so much you can do on campus after all.
3. The worst: the real work begins
For many, many students, you live first year by the 40% rule. As long as you pass the year, that’s totally fine! But suddenly second year hits and now all your assignments actually matter.
Your grades will affect your actual degree, and you can no longer afford to avoid your 9 AM lectures. Now you have to think about your actual future.
4. The best: the real work begins
However, this is also when you’ll have more control over what you get out of your degree. A lot of first years involve taking compulsory modules you don’t want or need. Moving into second year probably gives you a chance to explore the niche, cool modules you’re really interested in.
Getting a little more of a choice in filtering what you want to learn is awesome. It’s the kind of work you expected, the kind that fuels you as an intellectual.
5. The worst: you’re not a Fresher anymore
The shine of being a Fresher has long since worn off. You watch them in the library with their starry eyes enviously. You wish you could go back to feeling that way. It’s a pure naiveté you long for desperately.
As they hit up that year’s Fresher events, you feel strangely old and outdated. It’s truly bizarre, the emotional and mental shift into second year.
6. The best: you’re not a Fresher anymore
Well, now you know your academic buildings back to front. You’ve got a good idea of who you are at uni. Heck, you can even show people around now. You’ve even got a favourite seat in the library (and god forbid anyone try to take that seat, it’s yours).
Settling into a rhythm and routine is really healthy and it’s nice to feel like you know what’s going on.
7. The worst: you’re almost a real adult
You’re that much closer to graduation. You’ve followed along a specific path throughout life so far a little mindlessly. But here you are in what is probably the final part of your education.
You have to start thinking about careers now, about being employable, about what the future holds. You can’t live like an ostrich with your head in the sand of Freshers excitement anymore.
8. The best: you’re almost a real adult
In the end, going into second year means you’ll be growing as a person. You’ll spend first year in a playful daze and final year in a stressful daze. But in second year, you’re not quite done yet.
Second year is your chance to build your foundation for final year. It’s also your last opportunity to focus on extra-curricular, non-adult things before your busy academic-focused final year. It’s okay. You still have time, so enjoy it while you can.