Students starting university get deluged with advice: the key things they need to bring with them, how to make friend, what to do if they feel intimidated and overawed. Returning students don’t benefit from such advice even if the challenges they face are just as stressful.
Today let’s redress the balance and take a look at what’s facing students getting ready for their second year. They’re moving out of the student accommodation Huddersfield University, for example, offers you, and finding their feet in private rented accommodation, which brings with it as many valuable life lessons as any lecture! They’re no longer inexperienced freshers but experienced students ready to support the next year’s intake of students. What do they need to know? Let’s take a look.
In many degrees, the first year is not counted as progress towards your eventual qualification. It’s a generously assessed pass or fail year to help you get up to speed with university style teaching and learning.
Whatever your degree is in, be it science, literature or psychology, you’ll find the second year a step up in terms of the commitment of time and mental energy you need to invest. Essays will be marked to a higher standard and exams will be more demanding. You need to learn how to react to this, because it will happen again in your third year, and beyond if you’re on an extended course of study!
If you try to cling onto the habits first year taught you for too long, you’ll find yourself falling behind, so embrace the changes and learn to adapt. It’s a valuable skill to practice.
You’ll no longer be the experienced fresher, wide eyed and naïve. There’s a whole new intake of students to fill that role, just as the apparently wise and experienced third years who knew it all when you had just started have moved on to their own new pastures.
You need to step up to the responsibility of the more experienced student, helping to organise events and show the newbies the ropes. Other people did this for you when you were just starting out, so it behoves you to step up and take on the responsibility and pass on your good fortune to others.
Stress and Worry
As you take on more responsibility both socially and academically, it can also magnify the stress you’re experiencing. Many students have difficulties with stress, anxiety and depression, and if you’ve not built a network of supportive friends and healthy coping mechanisms in your first year then you might find them overwhelming.
Be aware of rising stress, and try to find safe, healthy ways to defuse it: often having something in your life that isn’t your studies can help. If you’ve not joined any university clubs and societies before, this might be the time!
If you feel like you can’t cope, speak to your university health services. Your student union can guide you towards what’s available, so you don’t have to suffer in silence.