The second semester is here, what you should know before it’s too late

You realise you can actually miss lectures


Now you’ve figured out who your friends are, it’s time to realise you actually don’t like them, that you regret signing for that house with them, that you should do more work and that you should try and go out less. Welcome to your second semester. This is the one that is meant to matter. You lost your nickname from Freshers’ Week, and your girlfriend. It dawns on you – you’re actually paying nine thousand pounds for this. These are all the things that will happen this term.

The flatmate you were shagging in ‘secret’ turns into serious relationship

It was just a super casual thing with the guy from the flat downstairs, but now the halls fire alarm has gone off and you and Jamie have been forced to guiltily trudge out into the parking lot in your matching dressing gowns in front of the whole of blocks C, D and E. Fuck it, might as well marry him now and get it over with.

You stop visiting home and your mum hates you for it

“And then I went home…” you say down the phone to your mum. There’s a deathly silence, her voice starts to tremble, cracking as she says “you mean uni home right? This is home home. This is your home”. “Uuhh sure” you reply, realising as the seconds pass, just how badly you’ve fucked it. You’ve accidentally let the woman who gave you life realise that you’re moving on in the world, that you consider somewhere other than the house she has lovingly tended home. You will not live this down for weeks.

You realise you can actually miss lectures

It was a foreign concept to you in your first term, all wide-eyed and preppy and willing to turn up to a 9am even if the night before had ended in two black eyes, a stomach pump and a ride home in an ambulance. Come February, however, and your goody two-shoes nature is waning. You miss your Wednesday morning Italian elective because you sleep through your alarm, but your tutor doesn’t care. It’s fine, you realise. Skipping uni is fine.

Fast forward to third year, you have a 23 per cent attendance record, and you’re on course for a low third. Still, you’ve had an excellent £9,000 worth of lie-ins.

Go out and get drunk instead

You will decide that you need to find yourself a weekend break to Europe

Your student loan has just come in and the UK in January is looking bleak as fuck. You have extra money and no real responsibilities so spontaneously get on skyscanner and start looking at flights to somewhere cheap and cheerful in Europe, you feel close enough to go away with all of your uni mates now so let them in on the plan, and of course they are all up for it. Flights are booked and off you go to Prague the following week, for another royal piss up.

However when you get there, you soon realise that the only difference is, instead of being at your local spoons, you are just in Prague’s local equivalent to spoons drowning your sorrows once again. It was a good long weekend though. When you get back to uni you completely regret the decision and are broke again living off carrots for the next three weeks.

The sad but inevitable decline of your grades begins

Anything over 60 per cent is worth texting your mother about. You’ll also spend a lot of time questioning how you went from being an overachieving sixth former who only got A grades to being a sad and fat fresher who can only just manage to read the seminar questions, let alone actually answering them. 

You discover drugs

Choose life. Choose a uni. Choose a course. Choose a dining table. Choose a fucking big television, choose XBoxes, posters, iPhones, and electrical tin can openers. Choose a gym membership, gluten-free and the uni clinic. Choose steep student loan repayments. Choose halls. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose a three piece suit for the Freshers’ Ball in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose elaborate pranks and wondering who the fuck you are on a Monday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing spirit-crushing Jeremy Kyle reruns, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable terraced house, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked-up brats who move in the year after you. Choose your future. Choose life…but why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life: I chose something else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got MD?

You start to try and be healthy

You start the term by buying a gym membership and a few packs of avocado, but after one appearance in the gym you never go back and start eating oven chips again. Once you try and start the stupid amount of work you’re set you realise that you might as well just keep smoking 20 a day and having a few cans with dinner each night, because you’re going to be exhausted every evening anyway. The festive period gets extended, but the joy fades away and prosecco is replaced with Carling, and the waist-shelf you’ve built up doesn’t shift an inch.

Your housemate tries to become a DJ

God Theo you really are a cunt aren’t you. “I just really love that four by four funky vibe, y’know? So I thought I’d give it a go.” Oh fuck off Theo.

You’ll get sick of Hannah, the girl who keeps going home

Hannah, who is probably from Halifax, ends up vanishing into thin air come February. She’s at the flat one or two nights a week, and has ended up commuting from home in her cream Fiat 500. Sociology doesn’t require many contact hours though does it? Colour coded folders (fuck knows why) and empty Costa cups fill the footwells of her car. It’s a life on the road for Hannah. But in two years time, her boyfriend will get her pregnant, despite a history of cheating, and you’ll see the wedding photos while you’re still searching for a three bed flat in Hackney without a living room – BECAUSE YOU’RE ONLY FUCKING TWENTY TWO.

You start to hate the people you’re going to live with next term

Jenny, Jordan and Jasmine were a huge laugh in first semester. You went out every week and spent hungover mornings gossiping and eating cold cheesy chips. No one is sure what happened over Christmas but what you do know is something has changed. Jenny got a boyfriend and he feels some kind of way about how often she goes out, Jordan failed a module and his parents are threatening to stop sending him money and Jasmine is thinking about dropping out because “she never really got chance to LIVE, you know?” You meet really cool people on your course and regret every single pound of that deposit. Oh well, there’s always next year.

What have you done

Your best friend gets a girlfriend who you hate

“Charlie? I haven’t heard that name round here in a long time.” Did you really have a friend called Charlie, many moons ago? He’s lost to the cause now, forever consigned to weeknights cuddled in front of Netflix with her. He could be charging through the dancefloors by your side, swilling VKs and hubris and whoever gets in his way. But Charlie is gone. Goodnight sweet prince.

You break up with your girlfriend/boyfriend back home

And your whole fucking study uni house has to listen to you crying to Taylor Swift circa 2008 until 3am, you wet weekend.

Your dog dies

Yeah you get it, he lived a long happy life, he died in peace or whatever shit people try to tell you but I just want Mr Scruffles back ok?

The fresher’s 15 becomes two stone

Your first term was a  culinary and cultural blowout to say the least. Raving to your heart’s content and regrettable sexual encounters can only burn so many calories, and slowly the overload of takeaways and alcoholic drinks takes its toll. By the time you roll back to campus after Christmas, you’ll start to understand why everyone hates the students who exclusively wear sports stash.

You branch into baseball caps

You spent the first term pretending you were the posh sort from the home counties who wore Barbour and over-wintered in the Caribbean. The reality of second term hits and your actual quite mediocre upbringing in central Guildford is realised. You return to your roots and start wearing baseball caps and adidas originals at very sub-par house music nights. You hate what you were and your friends hate what you’ve become.

You stop going to all the societies you joined in first term

Remember when you thought Flare Soc would lead to a glistening career in glamorous bars being fawned over by beautiful women as you flick ice into a tumbler with all the style and panache of Tom Cruise in Cocktail? Yeah it’s not like that. It’s a man called Peter in a waistcoat in the SU bar telling you how to make a Jaeger train.

Seemed like a good idea at the time right?

You’ll know exactly which nights are worth going to

By term two you’ve clocked that everywhere that was advertised during freshers’ week is shite and should be avoided like the plague. Some joke of a person will wave a refreshers flyer in your face and you will, quite rightly, tell them to fuck off. Obviously, you still go to the weekly SU event religiously, but now you’ve seen the doors of decent nightlife swing open before you. You start playing music you actually like at pres and going to ticketed house nights rather than Where’s Wally vs Smurfs, and realise that nights out can actually be fun and aren’t just about pulling and being sick.

You chuck away your high heels

You just can’t be arsed. You might be five foot three but those blisters just aren’t worth it. You began the year with long, slender pins but fuck it, it’s the new year and there’s more important things to worry about. Say goodbye to aching feet and hello to flats because there’s nothing worse than hobbling home at 2AM like your foot has just been shot at.

You start smoking

If the two girls in the flat upstairs who always wear fur coats do it, you know it must be cool. You’d made it part of your New Year’s resolution to quit smoking on nights out, but somehow come February you find yourself chain smoking outside the library most afternoons to “relieve the stress”. This is bullshit, you know you’re hooked, and the awful thought of your mum finding out makes you want to light up again.

Your fashion sense deteriorates rapidly

You started first term in an array of neatly coordinated outfits, “This year I’m going to have my shit together, and look like it,” you naively told yourself. Oh sweet child, how you could not have been more wrong. Come second term you’ll start to avoid wearing underwear and every morning ask yourself if you really need to dress properly that day. Your trackies and running leggings become regular features of your comfort-centred daily wardrobe (they are more forgiving on your Christmas belly than jeans). Who needs to look good anyway? It’s what’s on the inside that counts, at least that’s what your granola-eating, fitness loving housemates tell you.

Some cocky so and so lines up a summer internship

And you, my friend, spiral into a panic because your overdraft is bigger than your future. By this point, you consider getting up and brushing your hair an achievement, so securing a summer internship with the big six in the city is just not conceivable.

You start going to the library

This would never happen in first term because who the fuck goes to the library in first term? Now that the pressure of real work is on, the library becomes your second home and the people around you become so recognisable to the point where you have to reconsider if you can wear the same outfit three days in a row.

Who are you kidding?

Someone in your flat will have a pregnancy scare

It might have happened in first term but back then, you were all still trying to impress each other so, nobody would have ever confessed it. By second term, you’re closer, you’ve seen one another at your worst, and Soph just needs someone to freak out with while she waits.

You forget what makeup is and what you looked like with it on

Looking in the mirror before you go on a night out, you ask yourself: “Who is that girl? She actually looks like a strong five out of ten, at least.” Plot twist – it’s you, you’ve just gone without make up for so long that you barely recognise yourself with it on. Last semester you’d get up at least an hour before your alarm and carefully apply your makeup and curl your hair. There were people you had to impress.

This semester, however, you’ve realised Mark in your Philosophy class who you always thought was exquisitely god-like is actually a bit of an Aristotle-obsessed weirdo who you don’t need to worry about looking good for anymore. Therefore, out comes the scraped back, bald eagle-esque hairstyle and the sleep-deprived au naturale look. Yeah, you might look like an extra from Oliver but at least you got that 45 minutes extra sleep in the morning. If you can’t accept me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best, darling.

Contributors: Bobby Palmer, Lucy Woodham, Tom Jenkin, Josh Kaplan, Matt McDonald, Jazmine Sleman, Jenna Macfarlane, Sophie Lindsay, Charley Scoggins, Georgia Davies, Sammy Tempo, Reuben Nash, Mark Renton, Megan Davies.