Advice for students gets clustered around either end of the university experience: what to do and how to cope when you first go to university, and how to move into the world of work when you graduate. Not enough attention is paid to the students who are still working through the system: the once naïve, inexperienced freshers moving into their second and third years, and beyond.
Today we’re taking a look at the return to university, to make sure you’re happy, healthy and getting the most out of the experience.
Somewhere to Live
You can’t go on living in halls of residence forever. Even if you were comfortable in the student accommodation Huddersfield had to offer, for example, you need to find private rented rooms after your first year. You likely found a home to rent and people to share with in your previous year, but this is the first chance you’ve had to settle into your new status quo and there’s a lot to learn.
You’ll need to establish a routine for cleaning – it doesn’t need to be a formalised cleaning rota, but unless there’s some kind of understanding that allows the work be fairly shared there’s going to be either resentment or a build up of dirt and rubbish that makes your house difficult to be in. Learning to solve problems like this without them growing into simmering resentments is as much as education as anything you’ll learn in a lecture!
It’s important to look at the weightings each unit, essay and exam are given and how each factors into your final qualification. For most degrees, marks only begin counting toward your degree in your second year and acquire a more important weighting towards your final mark in your third year.
Paying attention to this and deciding where you need to make the most effort for the best results is a vital skill to acquire. Burning yourself out with perfectionism on an essay that’s worth only 2% of your final mark leaves you with less resources to put towards work that’s more heavily weighted, and therefore more important!
Stepping Up Socially
As you return for your second and third year, don’t forget you’re not a clueless fresher anymore. In fact, you have a whole new group of clueless freshers looking up at you, and the third years who knew everything when you were new have now graduated and moved on.
This leaves you with responsibilities. If you’ve enjoyed taking part in clubs and societies, there’s the chance for you to give back a little and use the experience you’ve gained to help run them and organise events. If you a second or third year took you under their wing when you were knew, pass it on, and be kind to the newbies.