Although it may not be as daunting a transition as moving into your first year of university, taking that step into second year is still a bit of a scary one. I’m sure by now you are aware that grades in first year do not count towards your final degree, but the foundation learning is incredibly vital, especially in getting into your second year. I knew that year two was not going to be a walk in the park, but it was a bit of a shock when my first week came along and I was already bombarded with assessment and exam dates. This may not be the same for all courses but for my journalism course, it was a rude awakening to how intense university really was. I soon realised that first year had only been a taster of what was to come. I know all that I have mentioned so far has not been particularly positive, but it is important that you are prepared to take on the hefty workload and increased pressure. After all, you will be one student out of hundreds doing the same course across the country, so the more impressive the work you produce, the more you will stand out to future employers. Despite this, there are a lot of great aspects to second year which first year does not have. I found that I was able to become a lot more enthusiastic about my work knowing that it would be counting towards my degree. Another big part of my excitement for second year came from my options. We chose these mid-way through our first year to decide what we would specialise in. This really helped me to pick topic areas I knew I excelled at and enjoyed doing, for me that was print and online journalism, in place of a broadcast module, which I did not particularly like the previous year. Discipline soon came alongside the larger responsibilities that second year introduced, and I quickly learnt that keeping on top of my work was paramount to reducing stress and maintaining my grades. Unfortunately, this meant that I did not go on nights out as much, but it did make them all the more fun when I did. Outside of your studies, there are other things you should be considering in preparing for second year. One such thing would be your living situation. Most first years may find themselves in University of Lincoln Courts or one of the nearby student halls where you may meet the people you want to live with the next year. They can also come in the form of your course or society mates. The big decision you need to make is to decide on whether you really want to live with them and even more importantly, where you will live. In my case I chose to stay with my first year housemates and we moved into our own house, but there are many options to pick from, so just make sure you are certain of your decision. To conclude all of this, second year is a noticeable step up from the safety net of first year and sugar-coating this change will not positively prepare you for it. Yes, you will be expected to do more challenging work, but ultimately you are being prepared for the real world outside of university. Don’t forget though, help and advice is always available from tutors, lecturers and student wellbeing services.