Second year is a living hell, and I miss being a fresher

I wouldn’t recommend it to my arch-enemy

You’re now well into the first term of your second year of university. The dust has settled, and you’ve realised what you’ve actually committed yourself to. It’s too late for the I’ll-just-drop-out-at-the-end-of-first-year-and-focus-on-my-mixtape schtick, and the cumulative amount of student loan and tuition fees you’ll inevitably have to pay back to ‘the man’ when you finally get a job that we all know will be completely unrelated to your degree has just become a kind of blurry figure in the back of your head, the evil twin brother of your slowly declining bank account.

There isn’t nearly enough time

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I’m sure that scientists somewhere in a Siberian research lab are still working on this, but entering the second year of your £9,000 habit somehow creates a vacuum into which half of your week escapes.  Time is currency, and the Bank of University is in perpetual recession. You seem to have time for nothing, but you’re also in need of time for everything.

Sleep is a myth

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The recommended sleep time for an adult is seven to nine hours. Except you’re a student, it’s nearly 1am and you still haven’t finished that thing that you were meant to finish and you’ve also got to be up at 9am for a lecture. Just face the fact that sleep, the activity you could once conveniently slide into any part of the day, is now a coveted jewel –  a niggling voice that taunts you from dawn to dusk. If you’re reading this thinking, ‘What are you on mate, I get plenty sleep!’, think again. You’ve probably forgotten about something, and it’s probably due tomorrow.

Nothing works properly

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If you’re like most students, you lived in student halls as a fresher. You were most likely lucky enough to have access to plumbing in case anything went wrong and on-the-house central heating, but as a second year, you’ve found yourself googling instructions for how to unclog a hairball from your shower drain and using a blanket as the only means of warmth. To make matters worse, the landlady didn’t provide you with a microwave, so you’ve become a modern day caveman who has been denied the most basic human rights: the microwaveable curry.

What social life?

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Your social life, as you once knew it, is presumably over. You never thought you’d be turning down drinks at the pub to get cozy with an obscure piece of French literature, but here you are – you’ve become the very thing you once mocked. Parties will feel like a mixture of forced smiles and regret, the thin line between sweet ecstasy and panic. You never knew you’d be standing in a dark room, strobe lights in full effect, wondering if the first line of the penultimate paragraph of your essay is relevant enough to the question. But this is the new you.

You can’t just take a day off

Another thing you have now realised is that even a day off isn’t a day off. “It’ll be fine,” you tell yourself. But the day draws to an end, you look at the setting sun, and the proverbial molehill has turned into Mount Kilimanjaro. You turn your head to the mirror, noticing the evening-lit teary eye that stares back at you and you ask yourself for the umpteenth time: “Why the fuck do I always do this to myself?”

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