University: Year Two in Review

This post is a little over due, but as people are still finishing university (or planning to go to university!) I guess that doesn’t really matter. May 16th marked the day of my last assignment deadline, thus, the end of year two. To say that I was happy to have finished was an understatement – for me, year two just wasn’t that great. For the most part, I had a good year, but some modules really got me down and I found it hard being away from home in a flat which, towards the end, was getting really uncomfortable due to some differences between people.

The first term was actually great as far as the modules went. I started the year off with an intensive week of Biodiversity Monitoring and I loved it. I loved finding out about survey methods as well as getting the chance to carry them out as well. For me, this was ideal work (even if I did fall whilst checking our animal traps and get 10 million nettle stings on my hand). The downside to this was that it was done in a week – I feel like I would have benefited from having a whole term dedicated to this module. The other module that I had before Christmas was Investigative Techniques, and I really enjoyed this one too. I found the content interesting and I actually liked doing the coursework.

Second term arrived and we began our Animal Behaviour module. I really enjoyed this one too, though the thought of an exam at the end of it really did scare me. I’m not great at exams. Still, I found the information interesting, and I did try to revise as much as I could. Of course, this was affected by the expedition, which happened right in the middle of our last AB lecture, and the exam… We even got to watch two dogs during one lecture, to see how their behaviours were affected by certain things.

Media was a year long module, however in the first term we just had some lectures on the theory – camera moves, lighting etc. Boring – though we did get to do some strange improvising during filming! In the second term we were properly introduced to the media module and the following assignments; I hated it. We weren’t given the module guide and it wasn’t easy to locate any information on blackboard either. I didn’t enjoy the lectures, and I did not like the first assignment. We just had no freedom in making the film as it had to fit to very specific things; seeing as I really did not enjoy one bit of the work I was doing, it really put me off filming. I decided that I hated filming and would stick to photography… However, the second assignment was better – it allowed far more freedom – and I actually half enjoyed doing it. Maybe film isn’t so bad after all?

Of course, you may have guessed this is you’ve been following my blog for a while, the biggest highlight of year two at university was the expedition. For one module, we had full freedom (well, as long as it was safe!) to go on an expedition anywhere in the world. Due to expense we chose Finland, and it was honestly one of the best things I have ever done. The country is amazing, and we managed to see all three big predators, which is something we were not expecting. Definitely a good end to the year, right?

Wrong. When we got back, we still had two assignments to complete and an exam – not fun! The last two weeks in university were a bit chaotic. We had to sort out all of the video footage from the expedition and put it into a film, with a presentation to go alongside it. We also had to complete the second media assignment – make a 2 minute insert and do a group studio section – as well as revise for our Animal Behaviour exam. It was definitely not an easy finish to the year! That said, I finished and I handed every bit of work in – not feeling too bad about any of it.

Looking back, it’s clear to me now that I did actually have more highs than lows during my second year at university. Any lows that I did have, I let get to me far more than I should have. Only one assignment really got me down, and I feel like that took over the second term completely. Next year I’m going to try to be more positive, and get properly stuck into my work. From my results (I still haven’t received an overall grade yet) I’m thinking that my second year was at a 2:1. I want to graduate with a first, so I really do need to buckle down. Getting firsts on just a few assignments isn’t enough! I’m looking forward to my third year because the course is completely changing, and the modules that I have next year sound really exciting. Best of all, no exams!

How about you? Any second years find themselves in the same situations?
Here’s to a better third year!