The evolution of the student
Newsflash: third year screws you over
They say your university years are the best of your life and, of course, this is true.
But the transition from first year to third year is a one of great self-discovery and let’s be honest… struggle.
The energetic, carefree fresher slowly evolves into a studious shadow of their former self.
By your third year, it’s your deadlines which structure your social life, missing a lecture actually holds consequences and your bank balance just really isn’t worth a Mednesday.
We ventured into the abyss of student homes (Smithdown and Carnatic, respectively) to document the evolution of the student, from fun first years, to tired and teary eyed third years.
This is Beth. An English and History student, she has really taken to the lifestyle.
She said: “I try to go out three to four times a week, just because I can.
“Monday to get fucking razzle dazzled, Wednesday get my med head on, get down like Beyoncé at Juicy Thursday then totally lose my shit on Friday and Saturday because it’s the weekend, bitches.”
Sounds like textbook first year behaviour. When on earth does Beth do her work?
“I’m an English and History student so do have a lot of reading and essay writing to do.
“You can piss out an English essay first year though so it doesn’t get on top of me. Some of the History work is pretty hard going though, the reading is a real step up from A Level.
“I make Monday my productive day because I’m not in uni. Get it all out of the way as early as possible in the week to make time for the real priority, getting on it.”
The challenging seven hour a week timetable is just too much for Beth sometimes.
“I have probably missed more lectures than I have attended.
“I don’t view them as compulsory considering half the people in there are asleep, most of the lectures are mumbling pure shite and the notes are available on Vital anyway.
“Seminars are where it’s at though. Banter.”
It’s good to know your heart is in the right place, Beth.
Meet fellow first year, Charlie.
“I probably go out about three to four times a week.
“I’m only in university on Tuesdays and Fridays so I love going out Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and if I’m not out, I’m probably drinking with friends or attending flat parties.”
Such a fresher.
“My work to free time ratio is probably a lot more free time.
“I do have quite a few essays due and with English there are lots of books that I need to read, but I feel like having three days off in the week gives me a lot more free time than I did in sixth form to get work done and still have a good social life.”
He continued: “I try my best to attend every single one of my lectures, a lot of the slides are posted on vital so if I do miss a lecture, I make sure to copy up the notes I’ve missed so I don’t fall behind.”
The Second Year
Still buzzing from first year, second year students are hit with a harsh reality as they transcend into the second phase of their evolution.
Immersed into an awkward interim period of having actual deadlines to complete, but still wanting to Raz every Monday, is most definitely a learning curve in the evolution of the student.
Meet Robi. A really cool Geography student, he’s had to adapt into a new, unnatural habitat of actually doing work this year.
“This year I go out about once or twice a week, whereas last year it was pretty much round the clock partying.
“Last year I quite literally did no work, I didn’t give a fuck. All I wanted to do was get drunk and then stay in bed all day.
“This year, I probably spend about half the time I do going out as I do in actual working hours a week.”
“My favourite year is probably second because I did not have my shit together last year and you spend less time on bullshit small talk.
“My advice to first years would be don’t take it too seriously, enjoy it and make good friends and pass.”
Here is History and Spanish student Kat. The pressures of second year have left her with some apt regrets about wasting precious first year time behaving too productively.
“In first year, there was no doubt that I was out multiple times a week. Monday Raz, Tuesday Bumper, Weds Med etc.
“Now that I’m almost three months into my second year, I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve been to town.”
Continuous deadlines have impacted on every aspect of Kat’s student life.
“I don’t even know the meaning of free time anymore. I struggle to find a free 30mins to fit Eastenders in.”
“I think first year is better for meeting loads of new people and settling in. But, so far, I prefer second year.
“I love living in a house with people I love and Carnactic wasn’t exactly a palace.
“I would advise all fresher’s to aim for that 40 per cent and no higher. I regret spending as much time as I did studying last year, freshers should really make the most of it while they can.”
The Third Year
Brace yourselves, for now we step into the darkest, most depressing quarter of student habitats.
A History and Politics student, Cristina reflects on her transformation in a positive light.
“First year I went out a lot, but didn’t enjoy it anywhere near as much as second year, which has none of the awkwardness. You don’t have to make an effort with everyone.
“Later years are more of a kitchen season – house parties and long frees.”
Third year, however, has put a strain on Cristina’s social life.
“We still haven’t been out as a whole house. I try to go out once a week though for my sanity – but isn’t that what people do when they work full time?”
“Third year is constant stress, the library is the only place you see your friends and there’s a relentless pressure to always be doing something. So when you do go out you hit it pretty hard.”
“The underlying worry is also just will i get a job? Will I make it through this year? Can i get a 2:1?
“Take me back to second year please.”
This is Adam (pictured eating a slice of pizza). Studying English Literature and Politics, Adam has long hung up his dancing shoes.
“I don’t go out nowhere near as much. In the third year a night out is something you really have to plan and prepare for.
“This isn’t to say you don’t leave the house at night, you just go to the Sydney Jones, instead.”
Classic third year habitat.
“Recently I have given myself some days off but generally this semester has been non-stop.
“Work is harder, more time-consuming and extra-curricular stuff pretty much amounts to another module or two. No free time means actual time goes really quick, too. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing, it just happens.”
He added: “Second year was probably my favourite year. You have got all your friends from the first year and still a pretty big license to go out with them frequently.
“Of course you have to do a bit of work but it’s not enough to keep you awake at night but just enough to make you feel mildly productive.”
The age old question, is a dissertation soul destroying?
“My soul is still one piece as it stands and to be honest the dissertation itself isn’t that bad. The way distracts it you from everything else in your life is pretty depressing, mind.
“Even when you get your other essays and assessments out of the way, your dissertation is always there looming over you like a dark cloud.
“My advice to first years would be go out as much as humanly possible and don’t take your work or yourself or your health too seriously. There is really no need to be noble when pass-marks are so low and you have so much free time.
“I guarantee you will look back and wish you had gone out more. Seize the moment.”
It is clear that the evolution of the student is a drastic and character-building (or degrading) one.
Despite the nostalgia of having fuck all to do but drink yourself senseless in first year, it must be noted that studying and actually achieving something productive is kind of the purpose of University. Kind of.
The chances of first and third years crossing paths are undeniably slim, unless it is as a fresher stumbles home from Envi whilst a third year finally packs in after an all nighter in the Sydney Jones.
Second year however, seems like a happy medium between the two, and, possibly, the best year out of the three.
Do you agree?