Starting Second Year? Here’s My Advice

Nicole Chapman (level 6 student, English Language and Literature) gives some advice on getting the most out of your second year at Portsmouth.

My biggest mistake this time last year was that I wasn’t busy enough. It’s so easy to let your entire schedule revolve around your uni timetable and little else. I knew I had big deadlines coming up and devoted an appropriate time to them, but little else. There’s so much on offer for Portsmouth students, like volunteering, paid work, societies, and even writing pieces like this.

Keep busy!

Once I started volunteering and filling my week up with other commitments I found that I was much happier. I had more to talk about with friends, more engagement with my university and community, and my CV was far more interesting. However, there is a limit to what you can fit into one week! My advice is to keep busy doing anything you find rewarding whilst setting aside enough time for yourself. 

Volunteering for something completely different to your degree can be a great distraction from your next deadline and that mounting pile of books to read. Besides, if you are lucky enough to get a job interview, your volunteering experience will give you something else to discuss other than just 15 years of education. Additionally, any non-academic experience may give you a better idea of what you want to do, or avoid, after your last year of uni. It can be refreshing to spend some time away from student life and other students. 

Will you need experience for your dream job?

Now is also the perfect time to consider what you want to do after graduating. Does what you plan to do need specific experience? Getting started now will give you plenty of time to gain practical know how long before application deadlines.

Study study study…

Nevertheless, a lot of your time will be spent studying. My biggest piece of advice here is to use any time you can to get reading done. A twenty-minute bus journey spent reading will put you ahead by twenty minutes at the library the next day. Not every study session needs to last for hours, hidden away in the library. Changing where you study can also help to keep you engaged; I know that I will be most focused studying at the library but taking my laptop to my favourite café by the seafront is a good break from the silent study area.

When deadlines hit, you could have weeks that consist of little else other than uni work. It’s essential, therefore, that you have other things that can distract you from the stress of writing. Make sure you spend your time doing what you believe is worthwhile and everything else should (hopefully!) fall into place.


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