Second year is well and truly underway as everyone collectively realises just how much work they have to do. Scrolling through ELE, reading lists and questions about topics you’ve never even heard of fill your screen. Perhaps these are problems you can deal with once you’ve made that colourful calendar which you’ve been meaning to devise since arriving back in Exeter 7 weeks ago.
While such challenges of second year are certainly making themselves known, this year is so far suiting me far better than last year. Originally I imagined the transition between first and second year would be going from the excited fresh faced 18 year old who is ready to see the world to a tired student who’s lack of sleep and constant stress leaves them unable to tell the difference between their toothbrush and mascara. I mean, I’m not wrong about the stress. What do you mean I have a deadline tomorrow? Is it possible to read 300 pages and make notes on them in half an hour? Perhaps the stress is already getting to me. Last week in my seminar I managed to make up a word. Meaning to say ‘industrialisation’ I somehow fabricated ‘capitalisism.’ Where was I going with that? The following week I was convinced the same seminar started an hour later and leisurely walked in only to discover a somewhat displeased tutor. Let’s hope he has a decent level of patience.
Coupled with rising stress, getting closer to the end of university means actually having to decide what to do when you become a fully-fledged adult. While History is by no means a vocational degree, I am finding out there are many options to choose from, the only issue is trying to find work experience and formulate a plan for the future. The first year version of myself merrily ambled around with no thought towards life after university, that was a problem for the second year version of myself. Unluckily, I am now the second year version of myself. Building up a CV when you am not quite sure of where you are headed is proving difficult. I won’t lie, I’m still holding out for the opportunity to become the female Indiana Jones.
Sure, year two entails more work, but there are so many bonuses. Instead of wandering around the city centre vaguely lost and unsure of where you’re planning on going, you know exactly where you are and are only slightly confused as to what you’re doing. You’ve already discovered the gorgeous little cafes and the copious amount of green spaces that Exeter has to offer, now it is all about using all these places to your advantage and making the most of them before you find yourself actually having to be a real adult.
Ideally, I would be the artsy student who sits in the café while reading classic literature. Unfortunately, my bank account does not revel at the idea of daily trips to the café and I will be too busy sleeping if I have time off reading historiography. When I do get the chance to saunter into town to enjoy a hot chocolate with as much whipped cream as possible, Boston Tea Party, The Glorious Art House, The Hidden Treasure Tea Room and Mango’s are highly recommended.
Not only do you know your way around town in the second year, campus has also become ever so slightly easier to navigate. It is now a rare occurrence to see a room on my timetable that makes me think ‘I have honestly never heard of that place’. Luckily, history students do not have to relocate too much around campus, the hardest location is the random seminar rooms that only appear after walking around Amory for a minimum of twenty minutes. Walking into the Forum is no longer the over whelming experience of ‘there are so many people here and I know precisely one person but only because they served me at the Pennsylvania Co-Op a few weeks ago,’ but somewhere I now know my way around flawlessly and bump into the occasional friend to have a quick catch up before running off to the next lecture. However, pacing the speed at which I walk around campus is one thing I certainly have no mastered, nor ever will. I can either risk powering up Forum hill to seem like I know what I’m doing, but look like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards, or walking slowly and arriving late at my class. If anyone knows the optimum method for conquering Exeter’s hills, do let me know.
I may have much to learn and many words to write, but I am welcoming the challenges of second year with an open mind and a library card ready to take out half of the history section. Well, the half I didn’t take out last year.