Starting second year initially seemed like an exciting prospect. Excruciating ice breakers and asking everyone you meet identical questions is no longer necessary, because you’ve already befriended people. Plus, there’s the moving into a new house to look forward to, and everything is familiar. Comparing last summer to the previous one shows a stark contrast. I couldn’t wait to venture back to university, whereas a year ago I was petrified about leaving home, meeting people and coping with work.
However, not everything about second year is quite so appealing.
In our first lecture we were greeted with ‘this is the start of your degree proper.’ In other words, from now on it counts, so get your act together. That was a reality check and the realisation hit that from now on everything I do contributes to my final grade. The learning curve and leniency of first year is well and truly over.
Aside from the increase in workload (a warning to any English Literature freshers, it gets much more demanding), another downside is not being in halls. As much as I adore my house, there isn’t the same community feeling which you get from staying in halls, and there’s the dilemma at the end of a night out when you can’t all conveniently hop in a taxi back to Endcliffe. The trauma of trekking up Conduit hill after a long day on campus is another negative, but it’ll do wonders for your calves!
Cooking has left me bemused too, as being catered last year rendered me utterly clueless in the kitchen. I’m still alive though which can only be a positive sign, and have finally mastered the art of cooking rice thanks to a helpful housemate. Also, there’s the issue of adjusting to the Arctic temperatures of a house after the tropical climate in halls, so multiple layers and onesies become essentials.
That’s enough moaning though. In spite of reminiscing about the ease of first year, I’m enjoying the step up to second year. The material covered in lectures seems more interesting (albeit challenging!) Also, the first assignment of this semester doesn’t feel quite so intimidating as last year’s did, because thanks to previous feedback, I know what to improve upon. I’m immersing myself in university life too now that I’m more aware of all of the opportunities available and generally feel much more confident about everything.
First year will always be a fond memory, but it’s time to focus on what lies ahead. Also, fire alarms going off at 2am are no longer a part of my weekly routine.