Excitement, nerves and a bucket full of other emotions run through you before going to uni. I was one of those that frantically googled and watched so many uni videos with the hope that it would prepare me for the next 3 years of my life.
Have fun …
First year doesn’t count...
Just a few common statements that you hear before going to uni. I know the first year for many may not count towards the overall degree or it has the least weighting, which makes absolute sense. First year provides a base level/ foundation that everyone is familiar with, to get rid of the gaps in knowledge due to different exam boards or education systems.
Why is first year important ?
In order to apply for grad schemes or summer internships, you are going to use your first year grades especially for a year in industry.
Take a moment to think about it...
Applications for a year in industry opens in September and applications for summer placements range from September to April.
Exams take place in January or May. When you start applying in your second year you wouldn’t have had a new set of grades to apply with.Your first year grades will be looked at. You do not need to achieve a 1st throughout first year but obviously it would look great. Steady improvement throughout the year or maintaining a 2:1 average shows determination and consistency.
Not everything goes to plan, so if you do end up with a 2:2 or below, there is no reason to beat yourself up. This is where the mantra FIRST YEAR DOESN’T COUNT becomes important. You should now be able to identify where you went wrong and change up your game plan for second year. Begin to build a good relationship with lecturers in your 2nd year. It’s their job to make sure you understand what you are doing. Sending a polite email or waiting after a lecture can have massive improvements in your grades .
Think about it, you can only get better at what you do. So put in effort from the start. Put your best self forward at all times and if you’re struggling there are so many places to reach out to. Don’t feed yourself a narrative that makes you isolate yourself. Use first year as a guide, a place where you can make mistakes knowing grades do not define you. Try as hard as you can to always submit your best work and not half-hearted work.
The better you understand what you did in first year, the easier the jump from first to second year becomes. ( YES THE MASSIVE JUMP NO ONE WARNED ME ABOUT!!)
Gentle reminder...you need to pass first year to get to second year
In second year , the real stuff starts. You start being challenged on scientific theory, exam structure changes. You are expected to know and more importantly understand a lot more in much more detail . You should be confident with the basics of first year and prepped for 3rd year.
Your second year 1st semester grades also matter . These grades are what will solidify your standing in placement applications, they also give you a standing when you want to apply for summer studentships. Most vacation schemes will request your 1st year and 2nd year grades.
This may not be the same for all universities, but your grades can also determine your choice of dissertation topic for most experimental projects. The better you do, the more likely you are to get your first choice.
If you need advice on applying for internships or are looking for places look no further …
Personally 2nd year was one of my hardest years of education. I found myself constantly drained and demotivated. I had no zeal to perform at the level i knew i was capable of. I settled with whatever grade my minimum efforts got me. It’s quite ironic i am writing to motivate you when for a whole semester i couldn’t do that for myself. This is just to tell you that you will face struggles but try your best to persevere through them and talk to people when you are feeling least like yourself. University can create this toxic bubble which makes you feel so alone even when you have people around you . Talk , voice out your struggles and if you do believe in God, pray about it and surely you will get through it.
The last hurdle is 3rd year - the real science starts. Workload increases 10 fold. You are put on a good path for the outside world and to go into further education. You should now know all the basics and any other further study will now involve you making meaningful contribution to your area of study ( WISH ME LUCK )
Studying a science, you may be taught the same topics continuously but they build upon the content each time it comes around so if you find yourself being lazy and just trying to skim a pass instead of learning the material, you are only doing yourself an injustice. You have worked hard to get into university, so why ruin it and act like you don’t care by not even trying?