Are you just about to start your second year studying History? This blog is written by Jess Jenkins, and in it she thinks back on her second year of studies and offers advice on how to make the most of your experience. Jess is just about to start her final year.
Two years done, and each year getting better! I am now going into my third year as a History student at Portsmouth University and my second year has only left me feeling ridiculously eager to proceed into my final year.
The second year as a history student is a year that you can tailor to your interests and pursuits by choosing options that reflect what areas of history you are interested in. The assessed seminars that you probably used to dread seem like a familiar friend as you are now more comfortable with your fellow students and lecturers, as well as being more confident of what is expected of you. Assessed seminars will probably end up giving you some of your best grades of the year, you just need to remember to: contribute your ideas in the small group discussions, drop those historians’ names and their arguments at all times, and then just relay these ideas in the whole group discussion, trying to draw links to a wider historical debate, and you will hit those high 2.1s and Firsts every time!
Essay deadlines and their increased length may seem daunting at first, but don’t panic… You have an extra chance to re-do the essays to better yourself, so honestly do ALL the deadlines, don’t settle for your first attempt! When writing these essays your lecturers are your greatest resource, so use them. Before I wrote any essay I made an appointment with the lecturer of that topic via email to have a quick ten-minute meeting. This made sure my plans and ideas were heading in the right direction and helped me map out the structure of the upcoming essay. The lectures love interacting with you; they know their stuff and are worth their weight in gold, so use them!
My second year at university was not only the best yet because of my course, but because of university life and societies. The number one best decision I ever made at university was joining the university rowing team! I had never actually done rowing before I came, but I met so many new people on different courses and they made me feel so welcome, and part of something bigger! Therefore I would strongly suggest joining a society, be it sport, academic or creative, but be part of something more and make new friends for life. I was also part of the ski and snow society, which is the biggest society in the SU, having over 200 members and this meant I was able to go on the university ski trip, which has been one of the best weeks of my life so far!
Basically, in short, university is a brilliant place to be; you become more attached to your history course because you pick your subjects and mould it to your interests and future. But you are also older now, more settled and familiar with Portsmouth and its people, so enjoy all aspects of university life and make every day count as it will be over before you know it!