I was one of those people who was in complete denial about becoming a second year at university, and it wasn’t till the 2012 freshers had actually arrived that I even acknowledged I was one. Why was I so determined to pretend I was still a fresher? because second year is scary, the work you submit actually counts towards your final mark and this means actually having to take life somewhat seriously. Of course, I’m enjoying university, but as my friend said ”University: it’s all shits and giggles until you get to second year”
1) My degree is not a joke.
Remember how I used to joke about being English a doss subject? Well karma has come and given me a battering this year because I’ve never felt so bewildered and lost when it has come to my subject. When I was given my timetable of six hours a week, I was mentally preparing which nights I could go out and which days I could have a lie in. However, I got a huge dose of reality when I saw my first few essay questions and realised I may as well make my new address the library because that’s where I’d be spending most of my time. When I saw my formative questions it was like my tutuors had thrown me out into the cold with only a couple of rocks and sticks to make a fire after spending a year being wrapped up in cotton wool being mollycoddled by them. THEN just as I was beginning to feel vaguely confident in regards to tackling my essay questions, they released the summative questions due in early next year, and when I read them I silently prayed that the zombie apocalypse would happen just so I was not faced with the embarrassment of failing my first semester.
2) Nights out are now a huge effort.
Perhaps the biggest difference I’ve noticed since becoming a second year is my lack of desire to go out clubbing – I just can’t do it. During my first year I was something of a machine, always ready to sack that essay off in favour of a night out which would have me roll out of bed and wander into my lecture feeling like someone had shot me into space. However, second year has took the wind right out of my sails because curling up in bed with a cup of tea is a much more attractive prospect than forcingmyself to go out into the cold for a night which will result in me feeling like death warmed up.
Of course, I still enjoy going out, but now I think of the consequences ”if I go out tonight, I will spend tomorrow in bed feeling sorry for myself instead of doing work” and when I’m paying three grand a year for a certificate, I kind of want that certificate to have a good grade on at the end of it which says ”she prioritised!” and not ”She was too easily swayed by those one pound tequila shots!”.
3) I’m ten times more time efficient than I originally thought.
I look back on my first year and wonder what I actually did apart from party. Second year has seen me transformed from a pit dwelling freshling into an early rising hurricane of emails, meetings, lectures, seminars and lots of reading. Somehow, after spending my first year doing not a lot, I wound up being on two committees, a member of three societies and being a features editor for an online publication during my second year. You’d think I’d be a nervous wreck but somehow I’ve managed not only to (just about) manage everything but also have time the odd night out and catching up with Coronation Street. Somehow second year kicks you right into shape and I’ve a feeling that all this multi tasking will come in handy if I ever have children.
4) I alternate between being jealous of freshers, and hating them.
Sometimes I look at freshers and think ”I miss being that carefree and irresponsible” and I’m whenever I talk to one I’m always encouraging them to go out because ”It’s first year! It doesn’t count!”. However, sometimes I look at them and feel this overwhelming dislike because they make me feel haggard at the grand old age of nineteen. It’s traumatic enough looking back at pictures of your own freshers and seeing how that fresh faced eighteen year old has managed to look like a witch in the space of a year, without a batch of fresh faced eighteen year olds fresh out of college hanging around making you feel much older than you actually are.
5) Illness comes from not going out.
During my first year I was only ill once and that was due to severe dehydration after freshers, and after that I was a picture of health which is surprising given my rock and roll lifestyle. However, I’ve now cut down on my nights out and make an effort to eat somewhat healthily and the result is me battling off some form of illness every other week. There is nothing more terrifying than the prospect of becoming ill when you have essays due in, and the I think the only thing that has helped me fight off these forms of illnesses is my refusal to fail second year on my first round of essays. An abundance of paracetamol and water has also helped, but the fact is old age is catching up with me and I’m just not the machine I was during first year.