Second year – “it’s like a hangover from first year.”

As my second year of university has swiftly come to an end, I thought that I would write my first blog on my thoughts on second year.

So first year has just ended – you’ve spent a year in blissful ignorance. Being a fresher is basically about meeting new people, getting into the swing of your course and partying as much as you can (in my case anyway). You have all the freedom in the world, with pretty much no responsibility. Your only worries are getting a mere 40% in your assignments and budgeting enough to ensure you don’t starve to death. Quite frankly, first year was the best year of my life and it exceeded all of my expectations.

I walked into second year with all the expectations of first year, but unfortunately, being a fresher isn’t forever. In second year you’re taken away from the security of living on campus and you’re faced with so many new responsibilities that you never really thought about last year when you were spewing in your shoes in the back of a taxi at 3.30am. For example, in halls, if your shower drain blocks or your radiator starts playing up, all you have to do is go downstairs and the kind, heroic maintenance men sort it out for you by the time you’re back from your 10am lecture. However, the same thing happens in a student house, you’re left dealing with a letting agency that don’t care about you very much and a hefty, unjustified overcharge. A lot of student letting agencies (I’m not saying all) tend to take advantage of the fact you’re a student and haven’t really got a clue what you’re doing. Then of course you have to deal with bills – something I had never dealt with before in my life and they tended to cause some disagreements on occasions.

Not only do you have to think about new “adult” responsibilities that have been thrown upon you, but you start to realise how many of the friendships in first year were “forced friendships” just because you lived with them. I went from living with 19 other people to living with 6 people in a much more secluded area. I was surprised by how many people I lost touch with when I stopped living with them and I was disheartened by this to say the least. was left craving the close-knit campus community.

And then of course the stress of the work load kicks in a few weeks into term. Completing assignments is far more stressful when you know it contributes to your final grade. I was in complete denial during the first couple of months of second year and I went out partying at every opportunity as if I was trying to relive my first year at uni. If I had to stay in because all of my (more sensible) friends were, I would experience a tremendous amount of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Unfortunately, my work suffered because of this. When I realised this would be the case for the rest of second year, I was left feeling quite low. I had to discipline myself to stay in so that I didn’t damage my grades any further.

I think the main reason that second year is so overwhelming compared to first year is that it is such a massive jump from first year in all elements of university life. A friend of mine once described second year as “the middle child that everyone forgets about” which I completely agree with. Both freshers and third years seem to make the most out of university as everything is new and exciting for the first years and third years want to make the most of uni in the limited time that they have left. Also, although third year is much more difficult in terms of the work load, I found that the third years cope with it better as they have been doing it for two years already.

Fortunately, I have been lucky enough to have been surrounded by a good bunch of people who have felt the same way and not all of second year was bad. I still have so many amazing memories that will stay with me forever. I feel this year has prepared myself and my friends for third year and we plan on making the most of the year in every element of university life.