Third term in engineering (vs terms 1 and 2)
It’s currently third term – and although it’s my third year, it’s actually the first time I’ll be having exams at the time they were supposed to be during the third term. In first year (courtesy to the pandemic) I had none (that was great, actually), and in second year, it was decided to have them straight after the Easter break. That turned out to be quite intense, but it meant the rest of third term was quite chilled.
This term, my exams are under three weeks away. I still have multiple assignments due before then, so there’s no time for a break in between. Although exams are still online, along with lectures and a few seminars, I actually prefer the greater flexibility that all of this brings. It does mean I have less on campus, and so I see my friends on my course less than I would have done ordinarily, but at the same time it means I can choose exactly how I want to plan out my day; there’s not a lot in my timetable to disrupt what I want to get done. I also appreciate the amount of time I’ve spent not commuting.
So, how does third term compare to terms one and two?
Well, up until now, I’ve always found third term to be the least stressful (in second year, this was only once exams were out of the way, though). Term 1 always seems the hardest; you’ve just come back from a break without doing any engineering for a couple of months and bam, 10 straight weeks of work, assignments, and modules, and projects, and potentially an individual project (if you’re in third year). That’s not easy! Mainly because there’s such a lot crammed into those short weeks. I always find myself wishing term was a bit more spread out so it wasn’t so intense. But, even after those 10 weeks, it isn’t really over; you have the 4 week Christmas break to revise for January exams – fun? No, not really. But it has to be done!
The best thing is once those exams are out of the way, those modules are usually over for good. I.e. This year, Fluid Mechanics was for term 1 only, and we had the exam in January, and I haven’t had to think about it since. That’s why I actually prefer January exams instead of having all exams in, say, term 3, especially if you haven’t had to look at that material since first term!
Term 2, then? Well, it’s marginally shorter than term 1 – usually 9 weeks. And the first week is always for exams, so it’s sort of 8 weeks. And for first and second year of engineering, terms 2 and 3 had the same modules spread out over them, which helped both terms feel more relaxed than term 1. Having said that, term 2 can be really, really hard! Especially if you have a third year project due at the end of the term – it gets really stressful when you start counting down the weeks to the deadline (instead of having the weeks stretching before you like you do in term 1).
I think third term is my favourite term – it’s super short (about 6-8 weeks), and when it begins, you already know exactly where you are and what you’re doing next. Whereas with terms 1 and 2, especially in 1st and 2nd year, you usually start new modules, which can feel quite daunting. It also always takes a bit of getting used to the lecturer and teaching style of whoever is teaching for each module; every lecturer is completely different and has their preferred style. So, in term 3, you can hit the ground running with a good sense of understanding exactly where you’re at and what you’re doing.
So, now that I’ve just said I actually seem to like term 3, I had better get back to studying – it’s the last effort of this academic year, so to everyone still studying right now – we can do it, there’s not much further to go!