I’ve learnt a ridiculous amount from this whirlwind university year to fit everything into one blog post. Arguably, some of the most important things I’ve learnt have had absolutely nothing to do with my degree at all. This seems strange considering English Literature is, essentially, my purpose for being in Sheffield. But anyone who has been to university can tell you that the degree is only one aspect of a much larger experience.
Firstly, living with your best friends is like the weather in Sheffield; completely unpredictable. One night we’re happily cooking a group feast before cosying up to watch Game of Thrones (at first I resisted watching it, but now I’m finally hooked) and the next day I’m losing my mind because there is a mountain of worryingly unstable pots festering by the sink. I think every uni home has a clean freak and, unfortunately for my housemates, its me.
Second year has also made us all ten times busier. Part time jobs, relationships and our various university workloads means that the crazy nights of first year, staying up debating life till four in the morning while eating chips, have become few and far between. This isn’t me saying ‘avoid second year, it’s a trap!’ because despite some sacrifices, this year has brought us all so much closer together. To paraphrase Dickens, because I am a Literature student after all, it has quite literally been the best and the worst of times. But it’s also been a massive learning curve and I wouldn’t change much about it.
Around the middle of second semester I began to experience a huge amount of self-doubt regarding my academic abilities. Basically, I sat down and asked myself ‘are you ever going to achieve a first in something?’ because I became massively disheartened with my consistently average grades. This is something I assume quite a lot of people feel over the course of their degree, and I’d recommend talking to your friends, family or even your personal tutor if you feel like this. One day I plonked myself down in my tutor’s office and poured out my degree anxieties whether she was ready or not. Luckily, she’s great and wasn’t fazed at all by my sudden outburst. Since confronting these anxieties I have finally achieved a first in one of my essays, and this has given me back some much-needed motivation to get on with work for my final deadlines.
This blog post wasn’t meant to be a downer on second year, so apologies if that’s what I’ve done. For me, second year has been a massive personal challenge, but equally as rewarding. For anyone going into second year I’d say be ready for the work to step up a notch, but make sure to keep some of the first-year silliness alive.
PS. Good luck with your exams!