Day 2: 5 things to know about Semester 3

Ah, the joys of semester 3, the first semester of second year i.e. the first semester where things count. For my second day in my 5 days of blogging I thought I’d write a post about the past semester.

1. It gets harder and without you even releasing it

They said that A levels to first year of university was going to be a big step up, I didn’t find it too bad initially (maybe because a lot of it to start with was recapping A levels). So when they said that first year to second year was a big step up, I was like “nahh, it’ll be fine”. It was fine, eventually. It got harder quite quickly and I really didn’t realise it, then it came to revising for exams and I thought to myself “when did we learn this?!”. And exams were harder too.
2. As well as it getting harder, you have the stress of finding a year in industry or summer placements
I’ve spent lots of time this semester looking at labs I could do experience at for the summer, or grants I could apply for funding this lab experience, and re-writing my CV. It’s hard to find the balance between doing uni work and finding placements. Some of my flatmates have been applying for year in industry placements and I have seen the stress they have been under (glad its not me!). Let’s just hope it will be worth it for everyone in the end 🙂
3. Everyone assumes you know what your doing
Everyone (including yourself) just assumes that because you’ve already had a year at university you know what your doing. Your second year, you should know where everywhere is on campus, shouldn’t you?
4. You have to get used to new housing arrangements
For me, this wasn’t too bad, I’m living on campus and bills are included, so there are no issues with that. My issues are more with cooking, I was part-catered last year which means I didn’t have to cook tea. So this year it feels like I literally do not stop cooking, which is fine, I can sort of cook. It’s more the washing up afterwards that is the issue. Another thing about housing in second year: shared bathrooms. It hasn’t been too much of a problem, but there has been a few occasions where I really need to use the toilet, and someone is having a shower, which results in me hopping around the flat.But living with people I like and get on with really helps 🙂
5. You can no longer rely on the “I only need to pass” excuse
During first year there is always the comfort of it doesn’t count and you only need 40% to pass, and although most people usually want to do better than pass, its always nice to know that is all you actually have to do. At least second year only counts for a third of the degree.
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A piece of advice to first years: it’ll be fine just don’t expect it to be like first year and keep on top of it. And if third year gets harder still, I feel for you third years and PhD students too, and everyone really. Also remember to keep yourself happy and healthy too, because that’s far more important. And of course, with all the difficulty of this semester there has also been great parts too: I’ve learnt really really interesting things as part of my course and still had fun too.

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