How I've found 2nd year so far
Second year, I was told would be the best year. No exams, you know the ropes, you've settled in. Perfect.
I have not found it such so far. Well maybe I have. I'm not sure.
I think I've enjoyed it more academically than last year; I'm able to study subjects I'm more interested in and I think I have improved from last year. That being said I've only completed one term and next term is set to to be the hardest with more essays, classes and tutorials. That being said I think I am better able to prepare and organise myself (although this is always something that can be improved!)
Something that has rather taken me by surprise is internships. I suddenly had a panic when around 4th week, all the finalists were applying for jobs, Masters, or internships and I realised I was supposed to be doing the same if I wanted a summer internship. I also found out, rather a bit late that you were supposed to try and secure an internship in your penultimate year of university so the experience was in the bag. Because of my being late to this party and the issues of JCR and COVID I missed the boat for applications in Michaelmas term and have been kicking myself there are still a few going but I definitely am a little worried I've missed some of the bet chances.
I think a problem with Oxford, or possible university in general is that despite the constant emails from the Careers Services, I still felt like I didn't really understand the process of timeline for internships. This was especially painful when in casual conversation with a Fresher, I discovered they'd secured an internship over the Christmas vac. And they'd only completed one term at Oxford! Me and my friend were speechless.
I'll certainly keep my eyes peeled for internship opportunities and apply for lots because I'm not yet sure completely in what sector I want to work in, but I urge others to keep your eyes peeled early on- even if it feels like a lifetime away because they'll sneak up on you and disappear before you've had time to catch your breath.
As well as all of that, of course , things have been online but my saving grace has been living out for 2nd year- a decision I've chosen to recommit to for 3rd year. I've enjoyed the freedom living out offers and the space to recover after term has finished without having to panickily rush back home as college chucks you out of accommodation. It's also allowed me to form stronger bonds with my friends which I've been really grateful for. I think as well it has helped to clarify for me those I'm closest to and want in my life. This was something I struggled with last year; the desire to keep people who were essentially toxic, in my life because... well I'm not sure why. I wanted their approval? Oh dear we've wandered into psychoanalysing myself here!
To summarise, I've enjoyed 2nd year so far and I'm excited for what's to come next. I've learnt some lessons and am slowly getting myself organised in a bigger sense with life skills etc. I think 2nd year might be my favourite yet!