Around a year ago I shared with you my advice for getting through your first year at university, and I felt it only fitting to update my post in time for those of you who are about to start your second year. Some of you may have had a tough time over the last year, and I can relate, but it would be an understatement to say that it is going to get harder this year. So lets cut straight to it...
Only be there if you want to be // Again this is a no brainer. If you are only at university because you feel it is the right thing to do, drop out. You may have completed one year, but if you really didn't enjoy it there is no point staying on for the rest of your course. Even if you decide later on that you wish you had stayed, most places allow you to pick up where you left off, which is a good option for those who still aren't sure.
Get organised // I said it last year and I'll say it again now, YOU NEED TO GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER. If you haven't found a way to manage your schedule during your first year, then god help you for September. If you thought last year was hectic, you need to have a flick through a dictionary. Second year steps up massively. You'll probably have more assignments, they will most likely be harder, and will most definitely count towards your overall grade. Try keeping a diary, buy a desk planner, write to-do lists, and prioritise what is the most important.
Compete with yourself // Try and set some goals to build on the grades you got over the last year. If you got 60% in a module, aim for 65% this year. Competing with yourself can keep you motivated, and will hopefully allow you succeed.
Find a group of friends that 'get it' // This is probably the most important piece of advice I could ever give any one. I would NOT have survived without the support of my friends. We have inside jokes, and a lot of them revolve around everything being 'on fire'. On Facebook Messenger our group chat emoji is the little fire icon instead of the usual thumbs up. If you don't have anyone to support you in your meltdowns, to rant to, to stress with, and generally cry to - you will have a much harder time this year. Having a group of friends that 'get it' will really help you! Plus, friends that stress together stay together.
Create a budget and stick to it // I'm sure many of you made a budget last year, and this year it will be more important to tighten your belt. It is a little known fact that you get considerably less student finance during your third year of university. This isn't the case for every student, although it isn't worth risking not being able to get by in your final year.
Get to know the library // This is vital. If you haven't stepped foot in your university library to date, then you have serious issues. You will need to learn how to sign out books, where past exam papers are located, how to access journal articles etc. If you haven't been in your library, I'd get some major advice from a friend or get in contact with your course's library assistant if you have one!
Get advice from a third year // This links in with the point above. This year a third year told me where all the exam papers are kept in the library and I wish I knew her name to thank her for her golden advice. Remember those above you have experienced everything you are experiencing, and the majority of them will have regrets. Just make sure you follow through on the advice they give!
Back up your laptop // FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST DO IT. The chances of losing your work may seem slim, but believe me it can happen. It didn't happen to me this year, but it has in the past and believe me it is the worst thing that could ever happen. Ever.
Invest in a student travel card // I'm a commuter. I don't live in a student house, I travel to and from Leeds every day that I'm in university. Before going back in September, have a look at student rail/bus cards and see if they are worth investing in. For me it worked out cheaper to buy my tickets as and when I needed them, but for some it can save you £££s over the course of the year! Some travel companies sell combined rail/bus discount cards which can be extremely useful if you travel regularly!