Going into second semester? This is what to expect

11 Jan 2018
By Pauline M., Student at King's College London

I remember feeling overwhelmed by university life in my first year, and being anxious about the second semester.

It was great to get those essays and exams out the way, but I still felt a bit stressed about the changes coming my way.

Plan your time so you are still able to hang out with your friends.

Here's my advice for making a smooth transition from first to second semester.

1) Will the workload be more difficult?

Generally, the further you advance into your degree the more complex the material becomes. I noticed that, in second semester, students are expected to conduct more of their research by themselves. Of course help will still be available, but you must be prepared to prioritise your studies.

I suggest planning your time so you are still able to hang out with your friends. You could even produce your own timetable, allocating hours to every module that you will be taking.

Your second semester grades can be quite important in the long run, especially when applying for study abroad and summer programmes.

2) Will I still have time to socialise?

Yes, but you might have to work a bit harder on your time management to make room for both studying and friends. You could try combining the two by spending time together in the library, where you will be able to study and then relax with your friends during the break.

Don't forget about social events at your university. Quite often they run after class, so you won't have to waste time travelling.

3) Should I be thinking about second year?

Considering how fast-paced university life is, it is never too early to start thinking ahead. Explore all the various options – such as studying abroad – as early as second semester.

A lot of universities offer courses in partner universities across the world that are often very popular and fill up quickly. If you are interested in studying abroad then it might be best to familiarise yourself with that programme early on to avoid disappointment.

4) What about accommodation for next year?

There are a number of things to consider when choosing somewhere to live, including the type of accommodation you would like, its price, and location.

If you live in a big city like London or Birmingham, you may find it difficult to secure a good place and an affordable deposit within a few weeks of the start of term. So, the earlier you begin looking the better.

Everything will be alright

Even though there seems to be a lot to think about, and you may feel overwhelmed by having to plan ahead when you have barely settled in, I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Don't forget to have fun and enjoy your time at uni. Use my experience as a guide and I'm sure your transition to second semester will be smooth.

And if you have any pressing questions, talk to your professors or senior students.

Plan your time so you are still able to hang out with your friends.
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Pauline is an English Language and Literature graduate and Masters student studying in London.