The honeymoon (if you want to call it that) of first year is over - so what are some tips for approaching your second year of university?
1. Learn from Year 1
For a lot of students, first year university - particularly the initial semester - is a bit of a testing period. Everything is new, from academic standards, to social circles, to the physical campus, and that means your processes and habits will be different, too.
Because everything is new, it’s pretty likely that you’ll make mistakes - or, more generously, do things in ways that aren’t optimal. If you sit down and think about it, you could no doubt make a list of things you’ve learnt from your first year - and this list is a great place to start when it comes to planning for your second year.
If I think about my own experience, my list from after my first year would have been something like this:
If you let yourself get behind on your subjects, it’s really hard to catch up.
Academic referencing is important, and you can lose annoying marks if you don’t do it properly.
Everybody is probably just as nervous about making friends/making conversations.
You get way more out of tutorials/classes if you’ve done the required reading/preparation - and they’re also less stressful.
2. Try to get the ball rolling early
Momentum is such a big part of university. As mentioned above, you might have noticed that it’s really hard to catch up on content if you let yourself slip behind.
As such, it’s a good goal to try to set up your processes and habits really early on in the year. If you make it part of your routine to take good notes and store them efficiently, for example, you’ll make it way easier for yourself when time for exam revision comes around.
3. Branch out
Year 1 is great for getting organised and establishing routine, but it’s important not to rely solely on that routine in Year 2. Keep testing new study techniques and new study locations - you never know what might work for you!
You might also like to branch out socially. You could join a club or committee, or attend some of the many social events available on and off campus. It can be tough to do this in first year when you’re simultaneously dealing with lots of other changes, but perhaps now you feel ready to make the leap!
4. Consider giving back
You’re no longer new first years - you’re practically university veterans! Something you might like to do with all that knowledge you’ve gained is make it a little easier for those just starting their university experiences.
There are lots of peer mentoring opportunities available at many unis, and volunteering more generally can be a really great use of your time.
5. Start thinking about the long game
Your degree is likely three or four years long, which means you might be the majority of the way through after your second year. As such, it might be worth starting to plan your degree. What units should you be doing this year to ensure you fulfil your course’s requirements? Which subjects will be left for next year?
You might also consider things like internships - it’s never too early to start thinking about your options post-uni!
Good luck for the start of your second year - we’ll be here with you!