Shocked by second year?

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You spend a good solid two years- at least- worrying about getting into university. Personal statements, open days and not to mention all that studying, just so hopefully, come one sunny August, you will become a fully-fledged student yearning for knowledge and packing away your worldly possessions into a tiny room you now call home.

Then, the party starts. Freshers’ Week, followed by more partying, with a dash of late nights and oodles of lies in. The student life ey? Doesn’t everyone cram essays in at the last minute scribbling away in the Learning Zone late into the small hours? Before you know it, Freshers’ Week has turned into Freshers’ Year and you still have an unread reading list and not to mention, quite a bad headache. However, all that pretty much is fine, as long as you get 45% overall in your major and you’re not expecting a first, isn’t it? Well maybe it is for first year, but let’s just say second year, well that’s a whole different story.

You may, like me, have come from being fed, clothed and pampered at home thinking you were in for another eventful, crazy, barrel of laughs year. You join in at Fresher’s Week and glance over your timetable, nonchalantly until, bang, second year all of a sudden arrives and refuses to leave. Suddenly it’s Week One and all you hear are “deadlines,” “essays” and so commences your student nightmare.

Cue metaphorical fairy godmother- a planner. It may sound simple but I can honestly say, “hi my name is Yasmin and I used to be disorganised, and all thanks to my planner I’m a reformed character.” I write down every deadline and label the weeks to avoid confusion. I pencil in reading I have to get done, exercises I have to complete and if I’m lucky my schedule leaves me time for a night out almost reminiscent of my first year days.

I’m not saying I’m suddenly a first-class swot, showing off that I’ve done my reading and showing all my seminar group up every week, but if I do manage to not complete the reading, I can be assured that it was out of pure laziness and not poor organisation, for once.

If you actually use your smart phone for more than texting, calling and the occasional tweet, many come with apps or inbuilt features that can help organise your studying. The best thing about using your phone too is that it’s always on you and it’s easy to key in extra reading your seminar tutor may recommend. It also gives you a great excuse to have your phone out in lectures!

For those of you who refute technology, like me, I prefer a diary-style planner that I can trustily flick through and rest assured that my next essay deadline isn’t for another three weeks.

Second year is serious business, and like all serious business when encountered, you always do better when you’ve done the planning. Be prepared. It works for the Boy Scouts, it might work for us second years too.

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