Five top tips to make the most out of your second year university experience

HassanAdvice, Cover Letters, CVs, Hassan Rehman, International Placements, Second Year, UK Placements, Work Experience

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” -Benjamin Franklin.

University is often the first time where we are given freedom; we get the chance to live independently and make choices for ourselves; how and when we should study. It is vital to understand that in our second year at university, we need to be critical in our thinking, and wiser in the choices we make, as the outcome of this year has a greater percentage impact on the overall marking of our degree level. In this blog, I share my five top tips to make the most out of second year university (based upon my experience as a student.)


1) Schedule regular meetings with your placement coordinator.

It is essential for you as a student to become familiar with the career services and support available to you. As a student Job searching, in particular for placements can be a stressful and annoying. As you progress through this academic year, you will notice that if you are not prepared to apply early for the available opportunities, you will fall back and struggle to keep up with the competition. That is why you must book in appointments with placement coordinators as soon as possible to check your CV and Cover letter applications are up to a sufficient standard. There’s a dedicated team available to help you out no matter what stage you are at in your career journey.

You can receive a face-to-face consultation, telephone, or video appointment, and they can provide advice on refining your applications and perfecting your interview technique. Getting involved with this support service and taking a proactive role in your job search early also gives you more time to focus your attention on other priorities such as your university studies. To give yourself the best chance of finding your dream role, it’s a good idea to start searching and applying for opportunities as soon as possible

To get started, book an appointment with a member of the Placements team over on Aston Futures.


2) Create a Study Timetable.

Revision timetables are necessary to create alongside your university timetable. They will give you an idea of where to allocate enough time to cover vital topics for an exam, complete desk research for an assignment, and above all, find a balance between your academic and social lifestyle. Using a diary or your calendar on either your mobile phone or Outlook Mail, map out your daily routine/schedule and make a note of the available time you have alongside your lectures and seminar tasks.

Once you have allocated this available time, you can set yourself tasks to complete during this time so you can better prepare for deadlines. Spacing out your time using a study timetable, allows you to complete tasks efficiently that may be time-consuming and require hard work. You can priorities topics you feel less comfortable with and revisit these, plus, you learn to become flexible, disciplined and resilient when it comes to organising your time and completing tasks.

Notebook saying 'Make it happen'

3) Keep up to date with readings.

Engage with the content set by the lecturer. As a student it is vital to do weekly readings assigned by your lecturer- so you are kept up to date with the latest trends and theories (relevant to the course you are studying.) In turn, this will help you create an opinion, supported by evidence that may be expressed within exams and assignments.

It is important to note that lecturers want their students to have opinions supported with evidence as it shows that they understand the content, plus, can apply this knowledge- which can help you in achieving a high grade, as it demonstrates your commercial awareness, your willingness to engage with the content set, and your critical thinking.


4) Keep your mind and body healthy.

It is essential that as a student you maintain a healthy lifestyle, both mind and body. Know your limits! Make sure you give your body enough time to rest! As stated in tip number 2, we must find some time to relax and sleep because a healthy mind equals a healthy body! Sleep and relaxation is necessary because it allows the body to recover, conserve energy, reduce stress, and boost memory and cognition.

Similarly, regular exercise and a healthy diet are vital for our body to function well. Otherwise, we risk damaging our body- an unhealthy diet could increase the chance of diabetes or other diseases- our mind- our memory may become impaired, thus, we increase the risk of stress and anxiety/panic disorders. The bottom line is feed both your body and mind!


5) Make the most of the University Student life!

Finally, university is not just about studying hard in order to achieve one’s career goals. This is the year for you to make/build long lasting friendships and connections, learn new skills, and to mature as person. Make the most of it! Why not:

  • Join a society/club, meet new people, take part in the events.
  • Update your LinkedIn account, build your profile, network yourself by making new connections.
  • Talk to your lecturers, don’t be scared to ask for help.
  • Teach yourself new skills: Complete free digital courses online, take up new hobbies.
  • Familiarise yourself and utilise the services made available to you!
  • Do some Volunteering work!

Best of luck with your second year. Be sure to make the most of it!