5 Important Lessons From My Second Year Of University – OurWarwick
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5 Important Lessons From My Second Year Of University

Victoria Heath United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
Victoria Heath | English Literature and Creative Writing Contact Victoria

A few days ago, I found myself nostalgically flicking through all of the blog posts that I have written for OurWarwick. Amongst the recipe ideas and creative writing tips, I stumbled across a post that I published almost a year ago exactly, titled 5 Of The Most Important Lessons From My First Year. In keeping with the tradition, I thought it would be a good idea to reflect upon the top five lessons that I have learned in my second year of university.

  1. Comparison is the thief of joy

It is all too easy to compare your grades to a friend or classmate; to undermine yourself because someone has an internship when you have received multiple rejections; to scroll through LinkedIn and believe that you are the only one without reams of experience. Coupled with the heightened pressure that most second-years face (with exams and coursework counting towards their official degree mark, and graduation looming in the not-so-distant future), the act of comparing oneself to others becomes extremely difficult to avoid in second year. I have found that many of my friends feel the same way, especially when applying for internships and facing the inevitable slew of rejections. It can be demeaning, and all too quickly, this can spiral into a whirlwind of comparison and negativity.

Despite this, I have found that acknowledging any negative feelings, and then being able to rationalise them afterwards, has particularly helped me. I like to remind myself that it is normal to compare and feel disheartened, especially in times of heightened stress. But then I begin to unpick my emotions, reminding myself of my own successes and not focusing on ‘shortcomings’; that social media is mostly a highlight reel of people’s lives – and most importantly, that I am on my own path and journey to success, not identically following someone else’s. There would be no fun in that.

2. There’s more than just JSTOR – make the most of all research databases!

In one of my English modules this year, we had a guest lecture from a Warwick librarian who showed us the various platforms and databases which we could use during research for assignments and essays. Although JSTOR may be one of the most popular databases, there are also plenty more, such as ProQuest, Taylor & Francis, and Project Muse. As well as this, there are even more specific databases, such as ones titled ’19th Century UK Periodicals’ and ’19th Century British Newspapers’, which can add a further layer of understanding for contextual analysis. I would highly recommend researching the databases which your department has access to. This can be done by following this link (https://warwick.ac.uk/services/library/), and then selecting ‘Databases’ under the search engine. Then, choose your subject and browse through all of the categories.

3. Rent books from the library – both for your course and for pleasure

It can be expensive to buy all the books for each of your modules, so utilising the Library’s extensive book collection can help combat this (especially if you are only reading an excerpt from a particular book). I only did this for a few books on my modules, but the process of taking a book out of the Library and returning it was extremely easy. I would definitely recommend trying it out – even if you don’t need to take out a book for a module, why not have a browse and see if there are any books to read for pleasure?

4. Prepare the night before going onto campus

Going onto campus for the day in second year, when living off-campus, requires a little bit of preparation. I’ve found that getting into a routine before on a day on campus means that I feel less stressed in the morning, and that I won’t forget anything. Packing my bag the night before with all of my books, making sure to charge my laptop, filling up my water bottle, and packaging up all of my food and snacks, leaves me with a lot less stress in the morning.

Leaving it to the morning can often be a mistake, especially if you wake up late, meaning that you will have to buy food and drink on campus (a habit that can quickly end up quite costly!), as well as having a dead laptop with nowhere to charge it. Although it requires a little bit of pre-planning, it is definitely worth it to organise yourself the night before. In first year, it was so easy to nip back home and make lunch or charge your devices, but it isn’t so much in second year!

5. You’ll keep making more and more friends

One of the greatest things about Warwick for me is the social aspect, which has only further grown during my second year. Everyone is so friendly, and it is extremely easy to join societies and go to a huge array of events. This year, I have made so many new friends from not only societies, but on nights out, modules and more. There are so many people to meet at Warwick, and you might think in your first year that you have met a lot of them, but I can safely say that there are so many amazing opportunities to meet more friends than you can think of! Especially as a lot of my first year was impacted by COVID-19, second year has brought such a varied and eccletic range of activities to get involved in at Warwick which I have absolutely loved, and lots of amazing friends that I am so grateful to have met.

If you’re about to enter your second year, be sure to make the most of such an amazing and exciting time! This is most students’ first time to choose their own modules, live off-campus, and a chance to be even more absorbed into university and adult life.

Victoria Heath United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
Victoria Heath | English Literature and Creative Writing Contact Victoria

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