Name: Lottie Rainbow
Programme: B.A. English with Creative Writing
School: English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies
We asked a returning student to share her reflections of her first and second years studying at Birmingham.
Workload: I don’t feel like the second year workload has been a big, scary step up. Obviously the standard of your knowledge and analytical skills should be improving so it is harder in that sense, but it wasn’t as scary as I’d anticipated. I think most courses have fewer contact hours in second year, so it’s all about balance and time management. For example, trying to go to bed at a similar time each night and getting up at the same time every morning on week days (even if you don’t have to be anywhere until the afternoon) really helps. Getting into a good routine and being organised will make second year life a lot easier. Also, it’s easy to procrastinate with friends, so I would suggest going to the library to revise if you’re struggling to get work done elsewhere.
Social life: First year has quite a lot of emphasis on meeting new people, partying and getting involved with so many different things that sometimes it is hard to focus on studying. This pressure is lifted in second year because everyone is more settled. My experience of second year is that although everyone wants to stay in contact and see each other, everyone tends to split off into separate groups. It is more important to plan and arrange fun things with others to keep the buzz of first year nightlife alive, while at the same time not feeling like you have to be doing stuff all the time – giving you more time to focus on uni work.
Accommodation: Last summer I was really looking forward to second year, more so than first year, because you have all the same excitement without the nerves and uncertainty of being in a completely new place with completely new people. In particular, I couldn’t wait to be living with my four best friends that I made in first year and the experience has been exactly as I expected – amazing! Obviously, there may be times with the odd disagreement but it’s very rare and I have never laughed so much, or felt so happy.
Future plans: I have loved both years at university and can’t believe how quickly they have flown by! It is both exciting and incredibly sad to know it will all be over in a year. I loved first year but I have loved second year even more – I feel more at home in Birmingham and at the uni, and feel as though I appreciate being here so much more now. I’ve also managed to get three weeks work experience over the summer at a PR company at home and I’m so excited about it. Things may get harder but they also get better – remember that anything worth doing may not be easy, but what would be the point otherwise?