Saturday 8 July 2017

Second Year Struggles


The last time I wrote anything on here it was back in 2016, so it's been a long time. To be fair I have been busy and today I'm going to talk about what I've been doing. As the title suggests this post is about my second year of university and the lessons I've learnt through some tedious tasks.

In second year they really up their game with the key reading which can lead to lots of adjusting. For me it involved learning that the electronic resources weren't compatible with my reading software, so for the first term I had to read all my readings myself. Some of you might be thinking: I do this all the time no big deal. Those of you that have known me for much longer may point out that I've been reading academic resources by myself, with no software for what's the problem? Time management and eye strain. Hear me out, I've become used to listening to the popularly chosen voice sereana read my PDFs for me, it sped up the process and saved me time. When that went a way for a period of time it took me hours and I mean hours I go really frustrated with it all, nothing was making sense to me and my eyes were getting tiered so it was hard to read the words correctly. When talking to friends about this I'd state "If the fucking key reading was in text on the vle I could have used zoomtext10.1 to read it to me" "Reading it myself is taking ages" and "I can't do this"The struggle was real.

I'm aware it sounds like I've given up on uni life, an over reaction but my irritation is as crystal clear. Thankfully I took action because second term was around the corner and talked to the library and a solution was made. Yay! All was good, I could do my "key listening" again for lectures. Then assignments and exams came around and I skimmed the readings looking for key points, software at the ready and I managed to add a lot (in some cases too much) to my work. However I think this has taught me a few things I needed to learn. For one thing I shouldn't suffer in silence, if I'm struggling with something ask the department for help. All it takes is an email or a quick visit to the office. Another thing I learnt is that, I get distracted whilst listening because whilst I did my key listening I would get bored and be on my phone halfway. I think the solution to that is to record the voice over and listen to it on the way to uni, because we all know there are times when boredom is inevitable.

Despite the fact that I haven't written anything on here for 6-7 moths I have been doing a lot of writing, mainly academic. In my spare  time I wrote an article about the womens march and sociall media and a competition essay (I didn't win but if anyone is interested I can post it on here as a sociology series post?). Also I think the artcles I write for the think tank will have more sociological content, so keep an eye on that.

In regards to my degree every couple of weeks in between my key readings, lectures and seminars I would have essays to write and assignments to do. I put 100% into these assignments, ehich were two 2500 and 3500 essays or reports for autum and spring term. Being the millenial and one track minded person I am (by that I mean I solely focused on my coursework) I posted my progress like the word count, pictures of each section etc on my Instagram and snapchat stories. In addition to this I would send puctures of my work to a specific set of people, I'm surprised they haven't complained yet.

IMAGE DESCRIPTION: My camera roll in April of assignment pictures I've shared.

Once my assignments were handed in I then had to prepare for exams, oh the joy 😟. To do this I chose a few topics and made general essay plans, plans that had content for any questions past or present. I learnt what was on these plans and the exams were alright, stressful but I passed them all. So what I got in them doesn't matter.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: My Camera roll in May with pictuees of different parts of my plans.

One thing all this writing has taught me is to always stay within the word and time limit. The issue here is that I had too much to say, so I included everything I wanted to say. As you can imagine editing my assignments was a nightmare and I felt like I was rushing in exams. Overworking myself for naught.

Obviously mt assignments and exam prep required content beyond the key reading itself. This meant I had to research some additional readings to include. I mainly used academoc search engines like Sage and I think proquest. Me being me, I had more than enough resources like 18-20 things I referenced for my asdignments give or take. A word of advice for any students that read this dowmload referencing/citation softwares like Zotero. I prefer Zotero because all I need to do is press an icon, or cite icon and it'll be saved. You can even choose your referencing style and add references from zotero onto word with a quick search. Not to mention a bibliography too. It's a life saver! When researching and writing my assignments I would get bored or find the topic interesting but hard. I wasn't as inro my spring option module as my autum one. I would advice you all to pick modules you're interested in and sound like you would enjoy. I did this for one but not the other. My spring module was interesting and I think what I learnt will be useful. However I still think if I had gone with my gut instinct and not listened to comments from people a year above, things might have been different. Do what you want to do, not what you think you should do. I've mostly done that for my third year optioms (excluding a SPSS module I chose to do, if I want to go into research I can't avoid it forever). So take that with a grain of salt.

My To Do List:
On a final note, I calculated that I went out and socialised three times in my second year, with three people. Clearly I need to figure out how to balance my social life and studies. As I follow up I have this mentality that I always need to be doing something, like some form of work. Take for instance how I went out for brunch at a pancake place, I took pictures and felt like I should write a blog post about it. I wrote about the place for a hangouts post on the CEN8 blog. Another example is when I went out for sushi, I took pictures to post on Instagram and wanted to write a blog post about it. I was too busy to do so at the time so it never happened. Here we see that I associate going out as something I should write about, like work when I don't need to. A possible solution to this is to live in the moment, enjoy what I'm doing and not feel the need to take a picture. I've tried that a few times, but always taken one picture to post on my phone or used pictures taken on my friends phone. All it took was a "Do you want to take a pictur", "take a picture of it" etc. So I think I need to learn how to live in the moment, take a pictures to post if I want to but not have a need to do some work and write about it. When uni starts I'll look into this. Am I becoming a workaholic? Lastly over the summer I plan to get some work experience, write that article I've been meaning to write and try something new to get out of my comfort zone.

That's all I have to say about my second year. See you in the next post.