“First Year doesn’t count”: a phrase that I heard a lot during my first couple of months of uni, but I heard it even more when first year was coming to an end. It was accompanied by nervous glances for affirmation, and someone always replied with ‘Yeah, it doesn’t mean anything; you just have to pass.’
Roll on to Second Year, and the phrase changed — but not much. Second Year did count, but it was “only worth thirty percent.” So, after two years at uni, everything I’d done was worth a little less than a third of my total degree grade: frustrating if you’re doing really well, and a bit of a relief if you’ve been floundering.
So here comes Third Year. The big one. The one everyone associates with panda eyes, late nights in the library, and deadline-induced panic. There’s another phrase that I’ve been hearing since I started, and now it’s echoing around pretty loudly: “Third Year is hard.”
Third Year is hard, and it counts — for seventy percent of your grade.
Enough to freak anyone out, right? So it’s time to knuckle down, make an effort, and plan all my assignments. No more late nights out, no more online games until 3a.m., and definitely no more procrastinating. Right?
I applied for uni two weeks before the academic year started, and a couple of days after I applied I got a call from my Creative Writing course leader, Lisa Mansell. We talked about what I should be reading, what I was looking forward to, and what I should expect. Then she said (and I’m paraphrasing a little, it was two years ago), ‘Enjoy the next two weeks, because after that, the work starts.’
But the work won’t start until Third year, will it? Sorry, but . . . it definitely starts before. First Year isn’t a doss-year, it’s a year when you get all the skills that you need to have to get your degree. Second Year is worth thirty percent because you should be putting all of those skills into practice and honing them. By Third Year, you should have that stuff down. No excuses.
Third Year is a lot more work if you haven’t spent the time building those skills the last two years. That doesn’t mean it’s not going to cause panic; that doesn’t mean it’s not going to be hard. But going into uni thinking you don’t need to make an effort for two years won’t do you any favours. If you’ve been that person, now’s the time to get ahead. Maximum effort. Big push. You’ll thank yourself for it later.
If you’re going into your first year or second year, keep in mind that everything you’re learning now is key to your success. Keep going and then when you get to your final year, you can absolutely smash it.