Two of our Level Two undergraduates reflect on their second year
Edited by Samantha Ann Rose Brinded
Are there any general reflections you would like to make on second year as a whole?
Peter: Overall, second year has been challenging in a number of different ways. However, it was also a positive experience too. This was because it gave me the confidence to stand up and give presentations to a group of people. We also got to choose the modules we wanted to do, which helped me to figure out which areas of history really interest me, which ultimately helped me decide what to focus on for my dissertation.
Georgia: This year was a bigger step up than I had initially anticipated. There were more assessments, or at least it felt like it, and to go from them being essentially a practise to them counting towards the final grade was pretty terrifying, to say the least. On a brighter note, second year has definitely made it clearer that I want to go into the heritage industry after I finish university. I figured this out because of the modules I enjoyed most were the ones that taught me about social history, something I’d like to pursue further in the heritage sector.
What aspects have you enjoyed most?
Peter: One thing that I have enjoyed about this year is the variety of topics I have studied. Having chosen modules from Roman Britain to the Cold War and Post-War Britain, I have enjoyed learning about different time periods and events which taught me how to look at things from different perspectives. I have also enjoyed the opportunity of visiting both the Cathedral library and the Lincolnshire archives, where I was able to handle Roman objects discovered in Lincoln.
Georgia: Choosing the modules and getting to experience a wider range of topics was definitely a high point, as it meant I was able to establish my interests as a historian more thoroughly. Also, determining my dissertation topic and starting to gather research was the highlight of my university experience so far. I have finally been able to go into detail about medical history, specifically cholera, which not only gives my friends something to laugh about (apparently a person can be a little too enthusiastic about an infectious disease) but also allows me to pursue the thing I am passionate about, which is what university is all about.
What aspects have you struggled with most?
Peter: Something that I have struggled with is time management and staying on top of all the assignments. As a member of a sports society, I had to find a suitable balance in order to keep to deadlines. I also had some issues with the amount of preparation needed for the seminars, as the amount of reading required seems to have increased.
Georgia: Deadlines and absences from lectures and seminars. I switched a couple modules at the start of the year, subsequently, my lectures and seminars all ended up on Thursday and Friday, minus one Tuesday morning. This meant that if I was ill, I would miss out on a large portion which would affect my attendance. Attendance is something university students struggle with all over. I recommend signing up with your university doctor as soon as you get here to avoid feeling like death for weeks because you can’t make it to your home doctor and your housemates are being largely unsympathetic towards your plight. Also blankets. Lots of blankets.
Is there anything you wish you had known at the start of the year?
Peter: As I have said, I struggled with the increase in workload, I wish I had been more prepared for this and kept on top of everything. Also, keep on top of the seminar prep, which will help you out in the long term.
Georgia: Where Rome and Constantinople are. Some context: geography is not my strong point and sometimes when concentrating on getting an assessment right leads me to ‘miss’ fairly significant details, like where a source was created, which would not be a problem if your assessment was not location specific.
On a serious note, something I wish I’d known before coming to university would have been the exact modules that we had to choose from. I initially came to Lincoln due to a specific module on medicine but the module was removed before I got to study it. Staff retire or go on research leave meaning you’re not guaranteed to be able to take every module you want to. However, there is almost always something you’ll like just as much to do instead.
Is there any advice you would give new second years?
Peter: The first thing I would advise would be to plan your work in advance and try to have good time management. Having had issues to start with, I found it useful to try and organise and prioritise my time better. The second would be asking for help and advice from lectures and other students if you’re not sure about something, they’re happy to help.
Georgia: Don’t take deadlines lightly; time management is key but also don’t over stress and panic, it only makes the situation worse. More importantly enjoy yourself: as cliché as it sounds these really will be some of the best years of your life.