Eleven weeks ago, I moved back to York for my second year at university. After my difficult first year I was apprehensive but looking forward to getting back into the swing of things, as well as continuing all the work I put in here at Lightly We Go over the summertime. I published one blogpost after the move, and then – well, life took over a bit, and in the best way possible. Here are five reasons I’ve absolutely fallen in love with second year.
As I predicted, living in a house as opposed to student halls has made the single greatest difference to my university life and experience. Our area is quiet and pleasant with local shops including a bakery and butchers, and is about a mile away from main campus so it’s easy to get a break from uni. My room is light and spacious, and the house itself is warm, homely and filled with lovely people who are always up for a chat or film night. Yet seemingly insignificant things make a huge difference from last year; having a door which can be left open rather than slamming shut behind me means I don’t feel trapped and isolated, and being able to move through the house or unwind in the living room means everything is so much more relaxed. To take all the stress off, some of us have decided to continue living there next year so we can really make it into a home until we graduate.
My contact with home
In first year, feeling like I needed to go home always felt like a defeat. Even though it helped me feel ready to tackle whatever uni was going to throw at me next, I told myself that if I spent a weekend in Norfolk I wouldn’t ever want to go back to York, and that I should be stronger and more independent. But at the very start of this term I realised that there was absolutely no shame in going home, and if it helped me to be successful at uni then I should take that opportunity whenever I needed it. I travelled back to Norfolk twice this term, whilst Mum popped up for a weekend and G came to visit three times. It all made a huge difference: I was busy almost every weekend so there were always things to look forward to, and the weeks went so quickly. Going home or spending time with family at university isn’t always possible or enjoyable for some people, but if you do feel the need there’s really no shame in choosing to go home.
Being part of the newspaper
Admittedly I was involved with Nouse, one of York’s campus newspapers, last year as Features Editor, but this year I’ve stepped it up as Editor of Muse, the paper’s culture and lifestyle supplement. It’s probably my favourite thing about university and I’m really excited for the rest of the year as part of the senior team. This term also brought the opportunity to interview Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP which is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done. It’s such a joy to be a part of the amazing team behind the paper – even if our first prod week did mean five 12-hour days…
Dedicating more time to health and fitness
Although I’ve not been posting I have been continuing my #PrettyHealthyProject efforts from the summertime with food logging, my gym membership, and focusing on my mental health. It’s been really interesting and come the New Year I’ll be elaborating more on some of what I’ve been working on, but the biggest takeaway has been the difference made by my commitment to walk to class as much as possible. It’s led to me walking at least four miles a day most days – often more – and that has had a significant impact on my fitness and mental wellbeing, too.
Knowing my environment
Having already done one year means there’s no adjustment period or anxiety about how everything works, and that meant hitting the ground running in second year was so easy. Knowing my way around campus and the city, having good friendships and enjoying my course has all meant that this term I’ve been able to make the most of what York really has to offer. Some people arrive at uni and their confidence skyrockets with their new-found friends and independence, but for me it took a year to get used to everything before that began to happen.
I wish I could have posted more over the past few months, but ultimately I can’t bring myself to apologise: I really needed to absolutely throw myself into university this semester and that meant that some things, like regular blogging had to fall by the wayside. Thankfully, it really has paid off and I feel like I’m finally doing uni ‘properly’, on my own terms. And, now I’ve got a grip on the workload and busyness of second year, I’ll spend the next month getting back into blogging and working out ways to factor it back into my daily routine when I return to York in January.