Kia ora, hello!

I’m finally back from my seemingly endless summer break, ready for another year of university (well, semester at least – let’s see how this one goes first and then reconsider!). For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Tom, a second-year BSc student studying – the dreaded – physics and chemistry. What was I thinking?

Anyway, before the first semester of the second year really kicks off (yes, yes, I know it is the fourth week already but it’s only the start of the second week of in-person university, right?), I thought I’d document my feelings towards year number two and reflect on year number one. Here goes.

  1. A 30-day free trial…

In essence, your first year at university is like one of those 30-day free trials: you can study whatever you want without it having as large an effect on your financial situation because of the (absolutely awesome) ‘Fees Free’ scheme (read this previous post if you want a wee bit more information:

Like those 30-day free trials, you can either continue using the product (or in our situation, keep studying what you started to study), or ‘return’ it. There’s no harm at all changing what you are studying for whatever reason. You might decide you absolutely cannot stand what you thought you loved, perhaps you didn’t get into the programme you wanted, or you might want to start doing a conjoint degree. And most of all, don’t be worried about any stigma associated with changing after a year – mainly because there isn’t one, it’s much more common than you might think.

Whatever you decide, the second year is the year where you actually start to study what you really like! (And, might I add, it makes much more sense to swap, switch or change than continue something that you don’t particularly gel with.)

  1. It’s not for everyone…

In your first year, you might find that university isn’t for you; perhaps it isn’t the right tool for the job you had in mind. That’s okay! Don’t feel pressured to continue. Do what’s best for you. Once again, the ‘Fees Free’ scheme is great because it allows you to dip your toes in a bit more, and try things you might just find out you love.

I might seem as if I’m a walking, talking (and in this case, writing) advocate for the ‘Fees Free’ scheme at this point, but I’ve got no qualms about that because I do think it is great.

  1. A middle ground…

If I’ve done my sums correctly, second year comes after the first one. Therefore, you’re not the new kids on the block, so to speak (I may have felt a bit too proud the other day when someone asked me for directions to the library – I realised I was no longer the one new to campus). And even better, you don’t have to think about what comes next like final year students do. Not so much stuck in the middle, very much happily in the middle.

  1. Knowing your way around…

My biggest fear coming into university was not knowing my way around. Not just the physical side, such as trying to navigate between classes, but in terms of how everything at university functions. Turns out it wasn’t even worth worrying about. So, if you’re coming into first year (or even if you are just thinking about coming to university) don’t sweat the small stuff; there is no need to stress because everyone else is in the same boat!

In essence, second year is seeming pretty similar first year so far, but just a bit better!