What Second year taught me

A few days ago I handed in my final essay for the second year of my BA in English Lit and experienced that exhilaration (and mild peril) that accompanies knowing I have four months ahead of me with no essays, no set routines, and no particularly academic goals. Clicking 'submit' on those last 2,500 words really made it hit home: I'm 2/3 of the way through my university life. I only have one year left of being in education, which is pretty much all I've known since I was 5 years old.

Adulthood? Nah, I'm alright thanks.

But it also got me thinking about just how much I've changed since I was that little Fresher. I feel like second year has been the year of personal growth and finally getting properly into the swing of independent living. I think I might have even got to grips with how much pasta is needed for one person which, frankly, is a miracle! So, since it is a tradition, I thought I would share with you all of the lessons that this academic year has taught me.

The importance of walking 

Walking has revolutionized my mental health and I have my friend (basically my soul mate) Emma to thank for that. Since the beginning of the year, I've taken a leaf out of her book and gone on long walks almost every single day. Not only is it just a good idea to leave your room every once in a while, but it completely gets me out of my head. By the time I sit back down at my desk I feel 10x more awake and ready to get back on my grind. Yay for overcoming that afternoon slump!

That I don't need to read it all 

I know I'm doing an English Lit degree, but three books a week averaging at 200 pages each is a lot. As it turns out though, you totally don't have to read them all to pass. That's not to say that you shouldn't read most of them, but on particularly busy weeks I've had to skip a couple of novels. It all turned out fine.

And guess what? I've got pretty much exclusively firsts so far this year.

That you never get used to night time fire alarms 

No matter how many times a student sets off the alarm cooking toast at 3am, you never, ever, get used to the pure terror that is being woken up by what sounds like demons screaming repeatedly in your ear. Trust me.

How to not be scared to talk on the phone 

I used to be paralysed by my fear of talking on the phone. I would sit for ages before every call and try to script out any possible dialogue, practicing my "hi" in a voice that was cheerful (but not in a creepy way). The truth is second year just forced me to get over that. I didn't have the time to be irrationally worried about talking over the phone because my to-do lists were already too long. So, I just forced myself to do it as soon as I knew I needed to. No waiting. No thinking. Just dialing.

These days, making calls has become like second nature to me and I've reached a point where I don't even think twice.

How to be content alone 

Whilst first year definitely gave me a level of independence, second year is what really helped me to be comfortable with being alone. In fact, it taught me to enjoy being alone. I no longer dread that drive back to my uni halls and the fact that I won't see my boyfriend for years (2 weeks). Instead, I get a little bit sad for about 5 minutes and then I remember how much I love being able to be selfish with my time. It feels glorious to be able to finally say that!

That money comes and goes (so there's no point worrying about it) 

Some weeks I'm able to buy everyone a round of drinks. Others I'm wondering whether I can live off Tesco Value beans and digestive biscuits. Either way, both are temporary states, so there's no reason to spend time worrying about it.


  1. I studied English Lit too and I found the idea of not reading everything so heard to get my head around! For third year I looked through all my texts and pre-decided which ones I would and wouldn't read to cover all of my bases and it helped so much

    Steph - www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

    1. That's such a good idea, Steph! I think I'll definitely give that a go next year! xx

  2. I can totally relate to this! I finished my five year degree last year, and I'm studying again now, but those first few years of Uni really changed me as a person, for the good, and now I've finally graduated after five years, when I look back I see so many changes and I learnt many of the same things you did. I think Uni is great for helping you learn to become dependent but also to learn when you need to lean on your friends and when you need to just let go and give yourself some time alone. I have to admit I only realised how good walking for me has been this year, after having some serious anxiety while finishing my final year last year and carrying over to 2017, walking has helped me so much. Exercise in general is a massive helper for mental health.

    Amy // www.thenosieinwonderland.com

  3. Ugh those night time fire alarms! I don't miss those!!

  4. Just wait until you get to third year!(I bet you hate that saying) Adult life is slowly dawning on me and I don't like it one bit! I think we had a similar experience with second year, it was a year of personal growth for me too. Second year is such a strange experience because you're right slap bang in the middle of your academic life and it leads you to think about the future but maybe also think that it's too early for that. I remember having thoughts about the future coming across my mind but just pushing them away because I had loads of time. But you actually do have loads of time, I'm just being dramatic!