Changing Things Up for Term Two
If you’re in first year then congratulations! You’ve survived one term but here comes the warning: if your course is anything like mine was then prepare yourself, term two is not just a repeat of term one.
This isn’t all bad though!
My experience of term two was returning after the longest Christmas break I had ever known, not having been able to summon the energy to get on with much work while I had been home. I was terrified that I was already in the process of sabotaging my degree. There were moments where I was definitely of the mindset that it was already too late and thinking if I hadn’t started working more independently already then I had no chance.
But my advice if you’re in a similar position would be to view term two as a fresh start. I’m not saying neglect your first term entirely. On my course I knew that I still had all the exams from term one modules to come in the summer so I was adamant that I would stay on top of them.
Take some time to reflect just before or when you get back on how term one went. Did the transition from Sixth form or college study go smoothly or do you still need to refine your note taking in lectures?
I had found a system that worked quite well for me by the end of term one. In lectures I write notes out by hand (particularly handy when we get to a long section of maths in my degree and much easier than trying to keep up while typing) and then I go back over my notes and annotate them when I file them away in my folders for revision later on. It took me a while in term one to get into a rhythm with this strategy and I found I kept getting behind on annotating and filing so term two for me was dedicated to staying on top of this system now that I had a little bit of confidence in it and it worked!
Definitely do not despair. I found that in term two I was able to stay on top of my new notes and even factored some time in each week to go over last term’s modules. This wasn’t any particularly intensive revision, just keeping it fresh in my mind by doing a couple of questions every now or then or even just going over the formulas I needed in certain modules.
But term two isn’t just a fresh start academically…
Now, I hope you paused for dramatic effect at the ellipsis and I will carry on.
Term two is also your fresh start socially!
Hopefully you’re looking forward to seeing all of (or at least most of) your flatmates again after a month off. I know that I needed the time at home after the stress of first term but by January I was definitely ready to dive back in and try and get to know my flatmates even better. If you’re not in such a fortunate position though, this is your opportunity.
If you just don’t feel like you got to know your flatmates very well in term one, maybe you could suggest an event to kick off term two or just make a conscious decision to put yourself out there a bit more (easier said than done, I know, but ultimately I think you’ll feel much better for it).
Or maybe it’s time to try out a new club or society. Don’t think that just because it has taken you a term to get round to starting something new that you won’t be welcome. There was so much I wanted to try at university when I first started that I struggled to balance it all along with work at first but in term two, I cut out some of the things that I was less enthusiastic about after a bit of a taster and picked up some new hobbies.
In honesty, I feel like term two was when I really settled in to uni and began to feel at home. Term one might be rocky but term two is your opportunity to discover what’s really important to you and to find the routine, academic and social, that works for you and can make your second term much more smooth.
Best of luck to you all and I hope term two is kind!
(I would also suggest trying to take some time to explore the local area a bit more if you couldn’t find the time in term one. Warwick, Leamington and Coventry have a lot to offer so be sure to have a look around!)