How to make the most out of second year in Notts

We asked final year Notts students what they’d do differently in second year

You’ve completed your first year at Notts and now things are starting to get actually get serious. You realise that maybe you should have paid more attention in those lectures last year rather than nursing a hangover after a big night out at Crisis or, amid Covid-19, a messy night with your house’s basement.

The Nottingham Tab spoke to third year students about what they wish they had done differently in second year. These were the most popular answers:

Mahel, a third year BSc Management student we spoke to

Remember second year is a big step up from first year

First year was all about prioritising club nights than uni work, but now your grades actually count towards your degree. To make things a little harder, second year is different and gets more intense too.

Mahel, a third year Management student, told us, “There was a shift from relying heavily on lecture content and a few additional readings on Google Scholar to needing to spend more of my free time reading through the core and additional reading list in addition to using lecture content and Google Scholar, and overall, there was more of a requirement for independent study.”

Whilst studying is important, it’s also a good idea to start thinking about internships and placements.

Mahel said, “I also wish I’d researched summer internships more as a lot of these are targeted at second year students meaning you only get the chance to do these once – a chance that I missed out on.”

But remember, equally, even if you don’t get one, it’s not the end of the world by any means. In fact, most students don’t do one.

The pandemic has proven to be a huge challenge for everyone but it’s important to remember why you’re at uni in the first place

One day you’re getting ready to see friends and go clubbing, and then a few days later, you find out that a national lockdown’s coming.  At the beginning of the pandemic, most students left their belongings at uni thinking they’d be back from home in a few weeks, yet they were very wrong.

The challenge of completing multiple assignments under home conditions has been a struggle for everyone but it’s important to remind yourself why you’re at uni in the first place and what you want to achieve.

Focus on you and your goals! It’s easy to lose sight of them.

Don’t worry too much about your second year grade

This is the first year when your work actually starts to count so you can forget using the excuse that you only need 40% to pass.

If you get a bad grade don’t worry too much, second year counts for less than third year. The most important thing is to use any feedback. Ask your lecturer if you have any questions and if you are struggling and don’t hesitate to get in contact with your personal tutor. Make sure you know what your goals are and the requirements for how to achieve them. Take a look back at previous work and see what you could do better to improve.

One student told us, “I was doing quite poorly in the first semester of second year and then I did much better in the second semester. Fast forward to final year, I’ve achieved the best grades I ever have in a single semester throughout my time at UoN”.

Manage your time wisely

Your workload in second year often increases which can make it hard to find time for extracurricular activities. Amid Covid-19, the options are even more limited than usual.

It’s important to find a balance between studying and making time for yourself. A good thing to do is to set yourself a timetable where you work out how many hours a day you wish to study and give yourself some breaks. This way you will avoid burning out too quickly.

But don’t take first semester too casually, either. Attend your seminars, prepare your work ahead of assignments and don’t leave coursework to the last minute!

Second year is a step up from first year. It’s important to work hard but also make time for some self-care. Set yourself some goals and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.