Why second year is the golden year
When the topic of uni life comes up, the first image that people have in their heads is Freshers. The first year is seen as the epitome of crazy, wonderful, care-free uni living, right? Your grades don’t count, so you (hopefully) won’t be too stressed out, and your weeks will mostly revolve around what club nights you’re going to. And best of all, any mistake or lack of achievement can be brushed off with the “Well, I’m only a Fresher” line. It’s practically a get-out-of-jail-free card.
But what comes to mind when you think of second and even third year at uni? Probably long, torturous hours in the library, caffeine-fuelled all-nighters in a frantic bid to finish a 5000-word essay, and a distinct lack of alcohol and raves.
Those are the stereotypes, but I completely disagree with them. To me, the second year is the ‘golden year’. Why?
Firstly, unlike your first year, you know what the heck is going on (most of the time). No more wandering around the campus like a lost puppy, hopelessly trying to find NID-RM4 (whoever thought cryptic room codes were a good idea, anyway?). No more getting on the 107 instead of the 106 bus and finding yourself in a random part of the city with no idea where Primark is.
Yes, one of the main advantages of second over first year is that you are just that bit more clued up – not only on the Uni, but also on the city. You know where all the best nights out are! You’ve realised by second year that the Union club nights are only for Freshers who haven’t realised they suck yet. You know what club is absolutely banging on a Saturday, and you know where to go for the best hump-day cocktails. It’s simply not true that you have to stop partying in your second year, in fact, your knowledge of the city makes nights out even better.
Of course, in your third year, there’s less opportunity to party several days during the week and even every weekend. Not only that, but there’s the impending doom of graduation and the constant questioning of “So, what are your plans after graduation?” that echoes in the dark catacombs of every third-year student’s weary mind. This is why second year hits that happy medium.
Don’t forget the academic work and your course itself. Although first-year grades ‘don’t count’, your course isn’t always that great at the start. That’s because the first year is all about laying the bare foundations down, and often your modules will be quite broad, so you’ll end up studying topics in which you aren’t that invested. In second year, you’ll get to specialise much more, and often get to pick your own module options. Although the same can be said for third year, second year has that slight edge because, although the grades count, it’s only a fraction of the percentage compared to how much third-year grades count.
Second year truly encompasses all the great aspects of uni life. You have the knowledge of the city and your course under your belt, but you don’t quite have to be ready to knuckle down like a third-year. You can feel smug watching the baby-faced freshers wandering around the Union, and still be comforted by the fact that you aren’t a third-year, and you don’t have to decide what you’re doing with your life just yet.
Your second year is the real golden year. Make sure you enjoy it in all its glory.