Everyone says that with every year of university the workload increases and the content gets harder. It isn’t until you actually experience it you realise that they were definitely right. Whilst on the surface a lot of things look as though they will be the same as first year, there are definitely a lot of new improvements.
Much like the first year of university we did not receive a reading list prior to starting the year. This naively led me to believe we would be receiving the standard one chapter per lecture readings – I was definitely wrong on this one. So far second year has emphasised reading a lot, specifically around the topic to build even further on the knowledge learnt in lectures. Each module has the readings very clearly set out for the week and the majority of them have direct links to the e-book or a PDF sample of the text uploaded to study direct.
As stated before in previous posts last year, there is a shift towards digitalised education – with all of my modules this semester having an e-book provided for me. I am now understanding the hype around e-books as it seems with each year of university the books get more expensive and bigger too. This hasn’t stopped me from already withdrawing two of the textbooks from the library though…
As well as switching predominantly to e-books, there has been an increase in the amount of videos we have been watching as part of the readings for the week. This is great when the videos are short, around 3-5 minutes, as it doesn’t take a lot of time to watch the video and make notes. However, when the video is 20-30 minutes long and of a very dull nature it is very difficult to engage with the content and make notes in one sitting. Despite the lengthy videos it is a breath of fresh air to be using resources other than books.
Along with videos, there has been a real emphasis on using Google Drive. In first year I had used Google Drive a handful of times but never for anything relating to coursework. Much like having an online version of Microsoft Office at your finger tips Google Drive has a duplicate version of each software.
The main benefit of using Google Drive for coursework is that all members of the group can work simultaneously from wherever they are based. The downside is that Google Drive isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as Microsoft and there are often delays when editing meaning you could be editing the same thing. It will be interesting to see how exactly the group work progresses with the use of Google Drive.
As you can see there are a lot of new elements and challenges when it comes to second year, as well as people finding their passions which they follow in the form of societies. With a heavier workload, new hobbies, and new accommodation off campus it can become a bit overwhelming. Effective time management looks as though it’ll be key to a less stressful second year life. So far I’ve found having visual reminders of important dates, readings for the weeks, and a timetable which gets updated almost daily very useful.
To do this, I invested in a whiteboard; even if I don’t use it, it’s there to give me something to write and plan on if I need to. Second year seems to come with a lot more closely put together deadlines, so I felt it was important to write them out and put them somewhere I can visibly see them on a regular basis as a reminder to stay on top of things.
By keeping things visual and in hard copies makes everything a little bit easier to organise. There is a very satisfying feeling that comes with wiping a completed reading off the whiteboard or drawing a line through the completed tasks on my to-do-list. At present this technique is working well, but only time will tell as the semester goes on and the work load increases.
I’m looking forward to what second year brings, and the differences and new approaches I will have to learning.