Nottingham's Trent Building. Image Credit: Barry Mangham/Wikipedia
As the long University holidays draw to a close and my return back to Nottingham gets closer and closer it is beginning to dawn on me that I have barely given a moment’s thought about going into Second Year! First Year seemed to have disappeared at a ridiculous pace and Second Year presents so many changes to the university life I know and love.
To begin with there is the frightening prospect of having to cook for myself. Having been in catered halls in First Year and having been to a boarding school since I was nine my culinary skills are pretty non-existent. When I do attempt to cook during the holidays I seem to work away for hours, use every utensil in the kitchen and still only produce a meagre meal of beans on toast or cheese toasties. Even once the basic cooking skills are mastered there still remains the challenge of doing the shopping. The sensible thing to do would be to do a weekly shop, however, the difficulty lies in judging quantities. I suppose this I will quickly learn when I find myself one week returning to the shop on numerous occasions and then the next week having so much food that I end up throwing it away. At the end of last year my friends sat around me in the halls dining room picking at their catered dinners and talking of how thankful they were that next year they could eat what and when they wanted. I on the other hand sat quietly thinking how I would miss having dinner ready after a long day on campus and how I would miss the lunchtime meal cards that allow you to eat in any of the eateries on campus. I suppose this is a change that I will have to embrace and quickly get used to when I return in September.
As a Second Year I will no longer be living on campus, able to roll out of bed with only a short walk to my lectures. Instead I am living at a thirty minute walk to the edge of campus or a short £1 bus ride. This therefore demands more organisation in the morning as I can no longer pop back to halls and collect those seminar notes that I often forget. Of course living in a house for the first time presents other challenges like dealing with the electricity bills, TV license, and internet; all which I do not have the first idea how to sort out. However, with all of my housemates in the same situation I am sure we will muddle through together and get everything done.
Finally, and most importantly, I must address the fact that as a Second Year my marks now start to count towards my final degree grade and my Second Year work ethic should probably reflect this. Although this is true and I must definitely take more time out in my week dedicated to extra reading and seminar preparation, I do not feel that this means I should sacrifice other areas of university life that I enjoyed so much in First Year. Throughout First Year I was a member of the University Boat Club meaning that I had training sessions up to six times a week. On top of socializing with hall and course friends this meant that I was a pretty busy student. However, I do not plan to give any of this up because I feel the busier I am, the more I can get done in a day and the better I concentrate when I sit down to work. So although the prospect of more work is scary I plan to embrace this along with the rest of university life and the other challenges presented by Second Year.
However, despite the challenges that I must deal with on top of an already packed out university weekly schedule, I look forward to my Second Year at university. I look forward to the different domestic, organisational and academic challenges it will present and I look forward to getting stuck in to every area of university life and make the most of a year that I am sure will go extremely quickly!