I have done these posts after every semester of university so far (click here for post 1 and post 2), and I think it is useful to round up my thoughts and share my university experience. It is not the typical uni experience and I wish I had these posts to read back when I was considering university, so hopefully someone reading this will find them useful… or just are nosey and want to see how I am finding it. I can’t believe I am halfway through uni already, its crazy! This ‘year 2, semester 1’ update is going to be quite long, so grab a hot drink and get cosy.
These photos were taken by the lovely Ami on our photoshoot from a few weeks ago- I love how all of these photos have turned out! She is truly a wonder behind the camera and I would definitely recommend her for blog and Instagram shoots.
So back to my update on Year 2, semester 1. If you haven’t read my life update post or have been living under a rock (I talk about it A LOT), I actually live at home which is around an hour away from uni, and I commute there on the train 3 days a week. Then most weekends I will go onto Manchester to see my boyfriend, who is living and studying there currently. I was worried about burning myself out at the start of the year… but honestly… I love it. My headspace is so much better now I am living at home, I can rationalise situations and stress much better when I am in my home comforts and overall I have been so much happier, and I think that has been reflected in everything in my life.
Im so glad I have been able to continue university in my own way and I have a much more positive outlook on the situation compared to this time last year.
I feel like I am getting the best of both worlds- having the ‘typical student’ experience sometimes but also having my grounding and my family at home where I can relax and not have the pressure to have a student lifestyle all of the time. Some people flourish when they move to uni, and I certainly wasn’t one of them people. I am so glad I have made the decision to commute, and I will continue to talk about my experiences and advocate it on social medias as I wish I had heard another option back when I was despising university this time last year.
I feel like my social life has been better in year 2, semester 1, which seems counterintuitive considering I am not living at uni anymore. Last year I isolated myself a lot because I wasn’t feeling up to socialising (I’m quite naturally introverted so the more down I felt, the less I wanted to socialise), whereas because this year I’m in a much better place, I have been making time for friendships a lot more. I have been clubbing and on nights out a lot more, seen my friends during the day more, and I have also been able to take the time to visit my friends in other places too. In year 1 I felt like I floated around a lot, but year 2 I have learnt who my true friends are, even though they are dotted all over the country!
Honestly, I think everyone has found this year challenging in one way or another so far, and I don’t think it is an abnormal thing to struggle at uni, especially second year. Although a lot of people say second year was their favourite too! I personally think it has been my favourite year so far too, as despite the workload being more I think I have taken more time to have a university life too.
Academically, this year has been a jump. I found year 1 pretty manageable workload wise but year 2, semester 1 has definitely been a jump, and I feel a bit like a fish out of water. I have had imposter syndrome like you wouldn’t believe, and I’ve come to conclusion that I will never get all of my work and reading done, and just to do my best. There is a lot more reading and the actual content is a lot harder, so it takes a long time for you to get your head around things properly. Its so easy to fall behind, and you need to be super disciplined to stay on top of everything. I don’t think I have had a full day off this semester!
I think the biggest thing for me is the pressure of it counting. Last year I was able to take more academic risks and not stress myself out too much, but this year I am constantly stressed of all my marks counting. I am still not fully confident when doing independent research work such as essays, but this semester I have tried to ask for help a lot more when I am struggling, which I only hope is reflected in my grades.
I think the biggest inconvenience in year 2, semester 1 was the strike period. It was an 8 day long strike in which I had no teaching. I appreciate and sympathise with the staff that were striking on behalf of pensions and pay, but from a student’s perspective it was rather annoying. We had no financial reimbursement for the teaching lost, and exam season could be assessing content that was not taught due to the strike. This was obviously a huge source of worry for many students this semester, and I hope there isn’t another in semester 2 (although I am 99% sure there isn’t going to be).
I wish I could share how I have done in year 2, semester 1 so far because I have 4 exams in January, so I have no clue. I currently only have 1 essay back, and I was overall happy with the result. I hope to get a 2:1 this semester and I think that it is achievable with enough work over the Christmas period. Ill let you guys know what I achieved in one of my Hello posts, when I get my marks back!
So I think that is my main roundup of Year 2, semester 1 so far, and all I can say is that I am so glad for an extended Christmas break from now until exams. I have a lot of revision to do over this period but I’m looking forward to no trains and no lectures for a month! Thank you for reading my blog and supporting my blog whilst I have been at uni, and I hope these blog posts help students see a more realistic picture of uni life rather than constant perfect ‘going out’ photos on Instagram.
If you have any questions or blog post requests to do with uni, please message me on Instagram or comment them, so I can try to fit them all in during 2020!