When you return to university after the long summer vacation for your second year, something has changed. You’re no longer a callow first year, and the third years who once seemed so all knowing and experienced have moved on (mostly: if you’re friends with medical students or PhDs they’ll still be around, and may be so long after you have graduated yourself). You’re now one of the second years who helped to show you the ropes when you were a fresher.
The new crop of first years expect more from you, your lecturers and professors expect more from you, and your peers expect more from you two! From comparatively luxurious first year accommodation, whether it’s a traditional hall of residence in Oxford or the newer Pinnacles, Sheffield, in your second and subsequent year you might well find yourself sharing private rented housing. This means no cleaners, no convenient all in one payment covering your rent and bills, and if you were in catered halls, no more catering! You have to cook and clean for yourself, and ensure that all the bills are paid on time, and fairly split between everyone.
Today we’re taking a look at how you can step up and make a success of second year.
For many courses, the first year is a relatively simple ‘pass or fail’ year to help you get up to speed with university style education. In second year your results start counting towards your final mark, so you need to take things more seriously.
Try to be honest with yourself: identify areas where you found yourself stressed and overstretched and find strategies to work on them. Perhaps you need to timetable a little more accurately, to give yourself the structure to get essays done without all nighters. Perhaps you need to find ways to focus your concentration to ensure you get the most out of your study periods, and still leave yourself time to relax.
Your new home brings with it new challenges. It’s all too easy for student homes to fall into squalor, as every housemate consistently finds things to do that are more interesting than hoovering, but try to get started on the right foot.
A cleaning rota might not work for your group specifically – it might be better to assign specific tasks to people rather than a rotation, but getting organised early will help you stay clean and make sure your home is a pleasant place to live.
You’re going to find yourself in the position of trusted guide to the new crop of first years. Try to be kind! Remember how you felt when you first starting out at university, and how much you appreciated the more experienced people who took you under their wing. Pass it on!