If there’s something that I noticed more than anything during my 2nd year at uni, it is how different it was compared to my 1st year. Bearing that in mind, I thought I’d share a few tips and tricks based on my experience, that could help you during your student life.
Halls is not a bad idea
The standard process regarding accommodation at uni means that you spend your 1st year in halls of residence, as this is a great way to meet people and become part of the student community. Whilst most people then choose to move into private housing in 2nd year, I decided to go back into halls. For starters, I wasn’t a big fan of the private housing areas in Leeds and I felt as if the halls were in nicer locations. Knowing my anxiety, halls just seemed to be a safer and more comfortable fit for me.
I was extremely lucky to be given a place in halls on campus, which were catered and with an ensuite. I know that there’s a big chance that that won’t happen for everyone, but I wouldn’t have minded being self-catered or living further away. Despite there being some cons of being in halls again, e.g. not knowing anyone, freshers going out, noise etc., now that I reflect on the experience, I’m glad I chose halls. A few people in my flat/corridor have now become some of my closest uni friends, and I wouldn’t have met them if I had opted for private housing.
Being on campus saved a lot of time too, what with the 2nd year workload. The whole campus really became my home, and it’s such a nice feeling after you’ve spent the day working in the library and going to lectures, to just be able to walk to your room in 1 minute. An advantage of Leeds’ halls is that you get gym membership included in the accommodation fee, which is a great way to kill time/keep fit/relieve yourself of stress.
All in all, halls worked better for me, so don’t dismiss them for 2nd year.
Go to the gym
I did mention this above, but I can’t believe how much I went to the gym in 2nd year. I know right, ME going to the gym, that’s saying something. Of course, less motivation was required because I only had to walk across campus to get there, but nevertheless, it’s still worth it. I can’t speak for other universities, but the uni gym in Leeds is definitely cheaper and I even upgraded my pass to use the gym at weekends. Not only is it an easy way to keep fit, but it’s very useful to burn off some of that work/exam stress. There are a few times, especially on weekends, when there might be some time with not much going on, so the gym is the ideal solution for passing time and reducing boredom.
Get organised and do the work
I will admit, there’s always the temptation in 1st year to leave a piece of work until the last minute, or not go to a lecture because it’s available online. What’s more, 1st year doesn’t count towards your degree, so the temptation to have a laid back attitude to work is there. 2nd year is a whole different story and your work counts towards your degree! For me, this was the drive I needed to get organised and get down to work. The increase in difficulty was noticeable this year and I made sure that I started assignments when they were set to give myself plenty of time.
Don’t forget that all important diary too, you’ll need it!
You won’t need as much stuff as you think
After moving out of halls in 1st year and realising just how much stuff I had with me that I barely used, I am made a real concerted effort to reduce the amount of things I took this year. However, I realised that I still could have taken less.
I’d say think carefully about kitchen equipment for sure, and don’t pack all of your clothes. You have the chance to exchange your belongings at Christmas and Easter, so pack for the season only.
Get to the library when it opens
In 1st year, I tended to work in my room, as I lived further away from campus. This year though, I preferred to work in the library, as it was easy to get to, and I didn’t fancy working in my room all day. During exam time though, finding a work space is chaotic, so get to the library when it opens. I swear I went a few times and there was a mob of people trying to get in before the doors had even opened!
I hope these tips have given you some ideas about how to approach your 2nd year at university. Let me know if there is anything else you want to know about university and student life.