For anyone starting their 2nd year of University – in the new academic year – I had a few pieces of advice I wanted to share with you as you embark on the next stage of your degree.
Looking back now there were some things I wish I’d known before starting my 2nd year (penultimate year) as a STEM undergrad. Such that: it’s always beneficial to have an internship lined up before the summer of your penultimate year of study; or that before you line up an internship, you actually know what you want to do with yourself after you graduate, (it’s probably an even better idea to know the answer to that question before you apply to University in the first place, but better late than never). So, this is going to be a short guide to the things I wish I did or knew before I started my 2nd year of University.
Apply to internships – early.
Yes, you heard me, just applying isn’t enough, you want to give yourself the best possible chance of getting onto one, so apply early. Given the global pandemic, internships have been scarce, as a result, competition has been fierce. Thus, applying early on would increase your chances of being shortlisted. Internships have countless benefits: enabling career opportunities, networking opportunities and potential job offers. You can gain valuable insight into the career you intend on going into and understand whether or not that career is for you.
Attend career events.
Career events are another great way to get career insights. Especially if you’re someone like me who is still unsure about what career you want to get into. There’s nothing wrong with being unsure about a career, there are so many opportunities and sometimes narrowing it down to pick only one can seem frustrating. Thus, attending career events should help quicken the process.
Stay on top of your academics.
You’ve probably invested yourself in societies – but as my lecturer once said – as soon as you notice you’re falling behind academically, that is when you should start thinking about deprioritising your societies. I’m not saying leave your societies completely, but to get back on track academically you want to take a small step back from societies. The first thing that an employer is likely to look at will be your degree result and if that doesn’t impress them, they will be less likely to look at how well you contributed to extracurricular activities such as societies. Also, when applying to jobs in your 3rd year your academic references at University are likely to base your predicted grades on your performance in 2nd year, so definitely be mindful of that too.
Make revision resources from the get-go.
Within the first semester of my 2nd year, I was quite complacent with making my revision materials early on, it got to a point where there was no time left to make the revision resources and then use them before the January exam season. I did manage to revise using whatever notes and textbooks I had access to, but I knew that I hadn’t put myself in the best position possible. I turned it around in semester two, I made sure to make the revision material as I went along and then managed to get the 1st class at the end of the exam season!
If you’ve managed to get to this point, thank you for reading! These were just a few tips and pieces of advice that I wanted to share through this article, I have plenty more tips and advice on my study page on Instagram @studysci___. Feel free to take a look and give me a follow!