I did one of these posts at the end of semester 1 and people seemed to really enjoy it, so I thought I would write another now that we are coming to the end of semester 2 at university. I love just sitting down and having a ramble, so I apologise if this post is not as coherent as my others or is longer… I am just going to chat without a plan and see where we end up. I love reading these types of posts, so I hope that you do as well! I cannot believe that my first year of university is almost over, it has gone SO QUICK.
As a bit of a backstory, I am at the university of Leeds in my first year of PPE (politics, philosophy and economics).
The short of it is… I still don’t like it. I don’t hate it enough to drop out, and overall I am a lot more settled compared to last semester, but generally I am not a fan of university. I am definitely more sure of myself this semester and I know that I don’t want drop out (something I played around in my mind A LOT towards the end of last year), but it certainly isn’t the best time of my life. Semester 1 was spent trying to fit in and forcing myself to be in Leeds (and criticising myself if I didn’t) and it was taking a huge toll on my mental health. In semester 2 I have accepted the fact that the ‘university culture’ is not for me and embraced the grandma I am, instead of trying to fit in I’ve just done what has made me happy, and that has definitely made me overall more mentally stable. I didn’t think I would ever say this, but I am actually really happy I made that choice to stay, as although I don’t love it, it has taught me so many more things about myself that I would have never known if I had stayed in my comfort zone at home.
The lifestyle I lead at the moment is by no means the conventional student, I don’t stay in the same place for too long and I’m constantly on trains. That being said I wouldn’t have it any other way though, I love being able to see everyone that I love without having to compromise my degree for it. Plus I get a lot of my studying done on trains, so I don’t miss out on any crucial studying time that I need. Next semester I am actually moving back home and commuting, so I am definitely going to get used to being on trains a lot more! I’m lucky that I have the opportunity to live back home as my family are super supportive of my choices, Leeds is only an hour on the train and as a humanities student I do have very few contact hours so realistically I do usually only have 2 or 3 days a week at uni. That being said, I think I am going to do a whole post on commuting to university some point next year, so I will be discussing it more then rather than in this post.
The whole reason I am at university is the course, so I thought I would mention how I am finding it. I have definitely enjoyed the course more this semester, although the workload has increased. I think they gave us first semester to settle in and work out what we are good at, and then they have really increased the workload in semester 2. There is a lot of content to get through and there is huge importance on independent work, because they whizz through topics so quick in lectures. That being said I am really enjoying the content of semester 2 more than the first, and I am definitely improving in terms of grades.
I do think that only needing to pass in first year is such a good thing, because the style of learning is so different to anything I have done before, and it is easy to not do as well as you want to in first year. Plus in first year the modules are fixed, so they won’t be everything that you want to do. Ill be honest, I think the new style of working paired with my rather shit mental state at the start of the year meant my grades were nowhere near where I wanted them to be, but in semester 2 they have started to pick up and I am targeted to come out of this year with a high 2:1 or a low 1st, which is exactly where I want to be, so I can build on it next year and hopefully come out with a 1st overall.
I think one of my key tips is that if you don’t know ask! You cannot be expected to know how to write a university graded essay as soon as you turn up, but for some reason I think the lecturers think that you do. My first few philosophy essays got shocking marks but that was because I didn’t understand the structure at all, whereas after booking in a meeting with my philosophy tutor where she taught me the basics of university essay writing, my last essay went up by 10 marks. Its worth remembering that although you might have been one of the most academic at your small sixth form, in university everyone is at the same level so it is necessary to ask and get help if you don’t understand something… it is super easy to fall behind and get lower marks if you aren’t understanding.
Social life is another huge aspect of university, and in semester 2 I have concluded that I am not one for nightclubbing. I have met some lovely friends at university, who I know I am going to stay friends with and I have tried to push myself out of my comfort zone and do things with more new people this semester. I am naturally quite an introverted person (which is surprising considering I post half of my life on the internet) but I have struggled to make connections with new people. That being said I have really enjoyed pushing myself out of my comfort zone and meeting up with some new people this semester, particularly when I had a night with the lovely Molly and Eleanor, all thanks to the internet!
I would say that my main friendship group are not in Leeds, and rather back at home (the friendship group I have had since year 10) or in Manchester. Why Manchester you ask? My boyfriend lives in Manchester and I have made super good friends with his flatmates, as they are all lovely and we get along so well when I go visit a few times a month. Actually the best friend that I have made this year is at Manchester, which just sums up my luck really but it is still cool that I am getting more than one university experience. Plus next year I won’t be living in Leeds so I will be spending most weekends in Manchester, which has worked out well with me being friends with a lot of the people there too.
I apologise for how long this post is, but I hope that it has helped people, or just had a bit of a ramble about where I am in life at the moment. I am very excited for exams to be over and summer to begin, where I can work on my business full time and just relax without all the travelling… as it can be super draining during term time. I am equally excited for year 2 because I can customise my modules and pick things that I actually enjoy (otherwise known as goodbye philosophy and hello more economics), plus I will be at home even night, which is what I NEED. As always thank you so much for reading this, and if you are at university, let me know how you have found semester 2.