Friday, 11 September 2015

♥ What Second Year Taught Me

In a week or so I head back down south to Falmouth in Cornwall to start the third and final year of my degree. I can't quite believe I've made it this far and I do think the experience has taught me a hell of a lot. I ended up being back and forth between Cornwall and Birmingham a fair bit in second year and I had to take quite a bit of time off from university because my Mum got very, very ill in February. That meant I spent a lot of time at home with my family and a lot of time on the phone when I was in Falmouth instead of at home. I ended up feeling very anxious about being so far away, and didn't really get to enjoy the academic year. With all that in mind, though, I still had a lot of fun in my second year of university!

Living in a house with no parents is weird.
Our university only provide halls for foundation students and first years, so come the end of June we were homeless. In the February of 2014 we'd found our house share. With five bedrooms and being only a ten minute walk from the town centre and with a bus stop practically on our doorstep, it's quite ideal. It's still weird living in an actual house though, with real communal areas that everybody has to live in. The kitchen is sometimes gets into a right state with piles of washing up, and it's awkward when everybody wants to cook dinner at the same time, but it's bearable! We decided the house was good enough to keep for third year, so we didn't have all the fuss of moving into another place this year. It really does feel like home.

Even with deadlines, you can still have a good time.
For some reason, my course deadlines are always a little bit later than my friends... One Thursday night in January (three days before deadline day) everybody was in our house, pre drinking for a wild night at Falmouth's one and only Club I. I was in bed, miserable and writing towards a brief I wasn't particularly enjoying. I decided there was no point in being miserable over the work I had a few days to do, so I got my gladrags on and joined in. I still got pretty decent marks in my work, too! I think it's really important to be able to have a good time, and I still had a few days to get through the workload. It ended up being one of the best nights out of the year, too, so I'm glad I went. And after attempting to restrict myself to my workload, I still got the work for the deadline done.

Family comes first.
Like I already mentioned, in February my Mum's already bad health took a turn for the worst. My dad hesitated to tell me, but after a few days of no improvements he told me it was best I come home, as they were starting to fear the worst. I didn't know what to tell my friends or my tutors, but they were all so supportive. The head of course told me to just go home and not let the pressure of university get to me - everything would be taken care of and my absence would not be an issue. It was scary, having to travel ten hours home not knowing the state she would be in when I finally got there, but I had to. Luckily, she pulled through and my time off hasn't effected my studies at all. All my housemates and friends were super understanding and helpful throughout the difficult time and I knew I could rely on them for anything.

You need alone time.
Living with four of your best friends is really fun, but I enjoy my own company and will often turn down nights at the pub for a hot chocolate and an evening of Netflix. I am quite a lone wolf, I enjoy my own company and I like my own space to just wind down, stick on a face mask and watch KUWTK. I'll often just go for a stroll down to the beach on my own just so I'm out of their hair, too, if that's what I feel is needed.

Be stricter with your budget.
Last year my budget kind of went out of the window. Come the end of first term I was living in my overdraft and that's pretty much how it stayed. Come summer, I eventually earnt enough from working at home to break even and vowed to try and stay out of my overdraft for the entirety of second year. I'm doing really well, there was one point I dipped into it (those Foo Fighters tickets were a necessity, promise!) but now I've got my rent money in a different account, I managed to pay for my summer holiday and I'm now saving for another.

Three years isn't as long as it sounds.
I'm still pretty shocked that I'm two thirds of the way through my degree now. There's just one last push and then I'll be sent off into the real, working world. That is both the most satisfying feeling in the world and it makes me incredibly sad. I don't feel comfortable with how fast these next few months are going to pass us by but I need to knuckle down and really try and get the end result I want from this entire experience. It's weird to think that this time next year I won't have university to fall back on and I'll be in the real working world and (fingers crossed) paying rent for a place of my own.

Em x


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