Stepping up from first year to second year
Hi, my name is Caleb and I’m a second year English Literature student at Christ Church. In this post, I’ll be talking about the transition from first year into second year but mainly what to expect with university work, lectures and so on.
Now don’t get me wrong, first year is by no means easy, but it’s a year to get the majority of students to a ground basis on the course. Because of this, the grades you get do not go towards your final grade at the end of your degree, but you still need to pass. To say that first year doesn’t really count would be unfair, just know that you are always making an impression on lecturers who could be marking your essays next year when it does count towards your final grade. There is no shame in trying your hardest and becoming a memorable student for lecturers whilst they’re marking.
Find your passion
The most important thing about getting ready for second year, is picking modules that you know that you’re going to enjoy. You know what you’re passionate about and what you’re good at, picking your modules strategically opens up so many doors and allows you to get the most out of your time at university. I chose a module that was apparently the hardest module of the year but when you’re prepared to immerse yourself in a topic, it becomes so much easier. At the end of second year you have to decide what you’d like to investigate for your dissertation, by studying topics that you’re passionate about, you allow preparation for what you might like your final assignment to be about. Your module selection really is the key to making the most out of your degree.
Second year is all about taking what you’ve learnt in first year and perfecting it. You might not even find that your essay questions get harder, but lecturers aren’t as lenient and they’ll be marking closer to the assessment criteria that you should find in your course handbook on blackboard. My main advice is to get a head start and research what you would like to write about early on. This gives you time to write concisely and have a strong argument, a greater understanding of the topic makes essay writing much easier.
Do your background reading
As always, the minimum requirements for lectures is to at least do the reading. In first year you may be lucky enough to escape by skimming and scanning the set reading but in second year it’s not that easy, the pace at which you have to read increases. For me, my reading list doubled in second year meaning that I had to spend more time reading than I do breathing. Luckily, I enjoy my modules and the reading so it is by no means a chore but just be wary of the fact that you will have more reading to do in second year. Lecturers actually talk less about the reading and more about the context of the reading in second year, so if you haven’t done it you end up pretty lost.
Meet your deadlines
All in all, as long as you stick to your deadlines, do your reading and utilise the universities resources, second year is just as fun (if not more) than first year. There’s no need to worry about making friends, finding your way around campus or being away from home because you’ve already done it for a year! Personally, I believe the more specialised you can be with your degree, the more enjoyable and personal it is, which is exactly what happens during second year.