After spending many long days trudging around universities on open days, worrying about potential flatmates and panicking about doing the necessary pre-reading, we all finally became that most glorious of things: a fresher. Reassured by the safety net of first year ‘not counting’, life in halls was essentially a constant party. Now first year is over, however, second year looms large above us.

Of course, this summer is certainly a lot more relaxed in some ways for those of us about to embark on our second year. We’re free from the constant worries of ‘what will my flatmates be like?’ ‘Have I bought everything I’ll need?’ ‘Will I really need to take this blender?’ We now have the warm certainty that we’re going to be living with people we (hopefully) count as firm friends, and we have a more informed idea of how many belongings it is truly necessary to take.

Yet with this great power comes great responsibility – that responsibility being in the form of having to sort out our own bills, rent etc. No longer able to pay a lump sum three times a year that means we don’t have to worry about endless hot showers and an alarming amount of Internet streaming, we will now have be adults *gasp* and take initiative with keeping on top of payments. In addition, the absence of a cleaner from September onwards is a cause for concern for anyone with housemates who have seemingly never even heard of the concept of hovering.

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More importantly, we are aware that the hard work really kicks in in September. Unlike with GCSE’s or A Levels, this is the big one that will determine our job prospects, future quality of life and potential income. No pressure. Obtaining work experience and completing extra reading are now becoming parts of many of our to-do lists, rather than whimsical notions we felt sure we would complete one day. Particularly after seeing fellow UoN students graduate recently with fantastic results and embark on exciting career journeys, the pressure to succeed is now there for us all. Of course, everybody wants to do well during first year, nobody wants to just scrape a pass; but the desire to achieve great things becomes more real and more serious in second year.

Yet, undoubtedly, we are all looking forward to returning to Nottingham in September. Summer is a great, relaxing time that enables us to reconnect with everybody at home, but we are all looking forward to escaping from a part-time job and returning to university life. It may be different in second year for us former freshers – the workload may be more real and the pressure to do well may feel heavier. Despite this, we know that we will still have the time of our lives.

Rachel Harrison

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