(I really need to branch out from the whole list thing in my next post)
We’re into week 4 of first term, and things are getting back into a routine of sorts. I’m beginning to learn my housemates’ timetables (since mine doesn’t exactly require much memorisation), we’ve made the trek to Morrisons’ for weekly food shops a few times, had our first house party, set up a cleaning rota that would be impressive if it survives the month, and already had our various existential-degree-related crises. The whole 4 hours a week thing is taking some getting used to, but I think I’m getting the hang of structuring my own time. I’m busier than I thought I would be with society committee responsibilities, playing basketball and now writing an online fortnightly Features column for Exeposé; but I’m not complaining. Busy is best for me, and I’m more than happy to accept the late nights and early starts as long as it doesn’t mean I’m languishing in bed till midday everyday feeling purposeless.
All that being said, I’m (typically) writing this the day before my first deadline of the year, so I’m going to keep it short and sweet for once! Second year is already shaping up to be very different from first, so I thought I’d have a look at some of the main differences I’ve noticed so far.
- You’re used to the hills
After any extended stay away from Exeter that first high-powered hike up Forum Hill burns. You’ve heard it all before and you’ll hear it again (many, many times), but Exeter’s hills really are an iconic feature of the University. And probably the reason people are so sporty. They have to be a reasonable level of fitness to get anywhere on time. As seasoned second years though, we’re learning the tricks of the trade. Morrisons’ is a 20 minute walk but at least it’s a flat one, you’ll need to leave the house 5 minutes earlier to get up to a lecture in Newman Blue etc, etc.
- You feel less homesick
This is definitely a welcome development. Although it was bitter pill to swallow at the time, the only long-term cure for homesickness is time and distance. It was tough in first term, but got easier as the year went on, and it’s still getting easier now. Sometimes it’s a surprise to realise I haven’t called home in four or five days, and it’s a strange feeling that as much as I love my family, I had been quite busy enough to not think about them for the best part of a week. I know it’s an inevitable part of growing up to feel less attracted to the idea of going home, but it is certainly a very satisfying and tangible thing too. There’s that quote about ‘friends being the family you choose for yourself’, and despite the grotty accommodation and nightmares over bills, a little family is exactly what you establish in a student house, and it’s so much more comforting than the bland corridors of first year.
- You know your way around (sort of)
I still have to ask the poor receptionist at Queens every. Single. Time. Where I’m meant to be going. She’s kind of resigned to it at this point. Knowing my way around town though is another matter. Living in a different part of Exeter has made me reevaluate my mental map of the city, but it’s also meant I’ve been able to connect up all those dots I hadn’t realised were connected by this side-street, or that footpath. Even though I did a fair bit of exploring last year, I’m determined to broaden my horizons again this year, and find new foodie places and pubs to take guests to.
- You feel more confident
Going to Freshers’ events with a few friends and a ‘can-do-it-doesn’t-matter-if-we-make-fools-of-ourselves’ attitude was so refreshing, and so much more fun than the terrifying experience of last year. Having friends already is a novelty that will never wear off when it comes to Freshers I feel. It’s nice to be involved in societies instead of just turning up to events, it’s nice to know people outside your course and in different years through society committees, it’s nice to no longer feel pressured to do everything because it’s just too impossible. You just do what you can fit in and with people you like, and it’s a great feeling.
- “Way more work (well, for me, anyway)”
This slightly passive aggressive quote is from my very motivated medical scientist housemate, who I interrupted mid-lecture write up to ask for her opinion on changes so far in second year. Bless. It’s a statement that would probably be concurred by the English, Biology and Economics students living with us too. And most of the second years on campus. I’m biding my time on the whole work front this term I know, after Christmas will be a brutal return to reality!
- TFW: Second Year Superiority Style
We all have to be a Fresher at some point, but if I’m honest it’s great to no longer be the newbies. Yeah, you can’t pull the ‘but nothing counts!’ card in second year, but at least we can fondly laugh at the Freshers who panic about getting a ticket to the ‘best night of their lives’ at Unit 1 or who turn up to Freshers’ fair expecting to find a cash machine on campus without a two mile queue. We laugh because we were right there with them 12 months ago, but the important thing is that we’re oh so mature and sorted now. Obviously.