With first year of university now firmly behind you, it’s that time of year where summer is drawing to a close and the next chapter of your university journey begins. Having just finished my second year, I am amazed at how much I’ve learnt during this time and gutted that it has come to an end! If you want to know how to survive your second year of university, keep reading for my 5 top tips.
- Remember: this year actually counts!
You may find it tempting to fall back into those first-year habits such as regular nights out and the all too frequent “Never mind, I’ll catch up on that lecture later” thoughts (don’t worry we’ve all been there!) However, it is important to stay disciplined from the start. Missing those 9am lectures because you’ve partied too hard may not sound like a good idea anymore as you could be missing vital content which you might regret later when completing assignments and exams. It’s worth remembering that finishing with a good grade at the end of second year will contribute towards your degree and will set you in a good position for final year.
2. Recap your first-year notes (not to mention extra reading!)
If you’re already wondering about how to start preparing for your second year, it is worth getting those first-year lecture notes out and refreshing your memory. You may find that many modules will either overlap or are an extension from your first-year knowledge. If your lecturers have released reading lists on Blackboard, extra reading prior to your lectures will also help immensely to build your understanding of topics. Now’s the best time to get ahead while you can!
3. Work hard, play hard
In spite of tip number 1, you should always remember to take a break and reward yourself. This could mean trying a new hobby, getting involved with societies (I’d strongly suggest this to those of you who didn’t join societies in first year!) as well as the occasional night out. It’s important to recall that university isn’t all about the grade you achieve at the end of it but the experiences and memories you make along the way.
4. It’s all about getting work experience!
Whether this be via an internship, volunteering or a placement year, I cannot stress enough about the significance of work experience. Not only will this enhance your CV and increase your employability, this will make you stand out from the crowd when you decide to apply for grad schemes or jobs in the future. Making the most of these opportunities in second year will save you a lot of time and stress in final year and I assure you that you’ll be thanking yourself later. If you are unsure about where to start, I strongly recommend arranging an appointment with Aston’s Careers+Placements team- the number one place to go when it comes to increasing your employability!
5. Manage your workload
From my experience this year, it was extremely easy to get carried away with internship and placement applications. However, you need to bear in mind that you still have a degree to study for (shocking I know!) To avoid this, make sure you stay organised and create a timetable so you can split your time for studying and placement applications accordingly. Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that your workload may increase compared to first year making it all the more crucial to manage your time effectively.
All the best for everyone starting second year – work hard and most importantly enjoy it!
Written by Meha Bhindi