Last week, I met up with two friends from uni after work. One that lives in the town that I live in while I’m at uni, and one that was staying on campus that week to perform at the graduation ceremonies in a choir. We went to our usual pub and chatted and ate some food and just caught up on what everyone had been doing. It was really nice to see them again, but it did feel very strange having the fact that I had to get up at six thirty the next morning playing on my mind, and it felt REALLY strange not being able to just walk home when I was ready. Instead I had to drive half an hour home, and it just made me miss living there and miss living the ‘student lifestyle’ and miss seeing my friends every day. And it also made me realise that I never did an end-of-year-two post. So I decided to do one now.
All in all, I really really enjoyed my second year of uni. I felt a lot more settled, and I think living in a house had a lot to do with that. Living with three people instead of 15 strangely made me feel a lot less lonely compared with first year. They would ask me what my plans were for the week, say goodnight to me each night and we’d all eat meals together (when we were actually all in the house together!); and that made it feel a lot more homely which was great. I loved the house we lived in and I loved my room. Nice and big, airy and light. My favourite bit of it though, was the headboard cover that my mum made for me at the start of the year. The one provided was pretty manky and had a horrible stain on it, so she whipped me up a nice, clean, Cath Kidston patterned one which just made the room lovely.
Living in a house also meant living in a town. Now, I’ve always considered myself a country girl and never thought I would enjoy living in a town so much! But everything is right at your fingertips. If I wanted to meet my friends, it was just a walk away instead of having to drive to the next village. If I wanted to do my Tesco shop, I could pick up a few things on the way back from the bus stop after uni. And if I wanted Chinese food at three in the morning, I’m pretty sure I could have gotten it.
Of course, uni is not just about the socialising and the living away from home. Believe it or not, students do occasionally have work to do. Now, the work load we had in first year was just absolutely crazy. Almost unbearable. We were having lectures and labs and tutorials and lab reports organised by two different departments that seemingly refused to communicate. This meant we sometimes had two lab reports in a week and were having 24 or so contact hours per week. That may not sound like too much, but with all the work we had on top of it, a lot of people struggled. In fact, I think the number of people on my course has just about halved since the beginning of first year! However, second year didn’t seem so bad. We were only being organised by one department, so I think our workload was slightly less and we had about half the contact hours, which meant there was more time to spend with friends and have a good time. I was much more prepared for the revision period too, and expected to be locked in my room for a good month and a half. I also changed my revision tactics from writing everything out by hand to typing on my laptop which saved a lot of time. As a consequence, I was a lot less stressed and managed to get a lot more done.
I had such a good time last year, actually, that I can’t wait to go back! And I would never believe that I would be saying that when I was in first year! I do like living at home, but at the moment while I’m working so much, it doesn’t really feel like I’m at Home. I’m in and out all the time, basically just being at home to eat and sleep. I barely get to see anyone because they’re all out doing things at different times to me, and when I do have spare time I’m so tired that I spend it napping! (I had a three hour nap on Saturday and it was the BEST thing. I felt so much better after it, almost like a functional human being again!). I sort of knew that it was going to be like this though, but I was saying to my mum that I still miss living at home at the moment because it doesn’t really feel like I am. When I’m here I like to have spare time to bake and canoe and make things (coincidentally, all things that I’ve done recently, but in general I’m not doing them as much as I’d like to be).
Anyway, yes, second year was unbelievably good and I was very sad to say goodbye to my friends, lock up my house and head away for 10 weeks. The worst bit was thinking that we’ve only got one year left. ONE YEAR! I feel emotional just thinking about it. I don’t know how I’m going to cope saying goodbye to everyone at the end of next year. I’m going to be a sobbing heap of tears when the time comes! Still, we’ve got one year to enjoy everyone’s company. And if it’s anything like last year, it will be amazing!