Aneekha, a second year Psychology student, shares her reflections on this academic year.
As a second year student, this year was one of extreme change. In my first year, it was difficult to fully appreciate the transition into university life. Social interactions were restricted, and many of the restaurants and shops were shut. It was definitely not what I was expecting, but I made the most of it and managed to make a few meaningful connections and became familiar with what a city that I now can say I know like the back of my hand.
Second year was a breath of fresh air. Classes were in person, allowing not only for more interaction with my peers, but also for a better relationship with professors who I had never seen in person before. I also had a newfound appreciation for Bath, with the elimination of restrictions creating new opportunities for discovery, exploring everything that this city has to offer. With the innumerable things to do, whether it be exploring different cafés or going on big trail walks, there was always something that helped reduce homesickness.
The ease of restrictions also helped me meet more people in person, who I could share these experiences with. It was much easier to connect and learn more about others’ interests, which helped to reduce the feeling of isolation. In fact, these activities helped me feel more integrated within the community here, when I showed friends and family around, my knowledge of Bath truly surprised me. That’s another thing – with the change in restrictions it became much easier to travel internationally too. It’s extremely comforting to know that my family can visit me anytime, and I can go home too, if I really wanted to.
Of course, this was all extremely fun, but also it should be mentioned that the jump from first to second year is not to be underestimated. In fact, some say that second year can be the most overwhelming for university students. Especially after a year online, with less deadlines and a lot more free time, there were times that were stressful. However, situations like these help to teach you how you learn best, and what factors make you more productive. For me personally, I realised that I love to work in cafés, where the ambient noise was much more conducive for my studying as compared to a silent library. It also taught me how much time I need to leave myself before important assignments, and how to prioritise my interests and my academic career.
Overall, I believe that this was an extremely enlightening second year. Not only did I learn so much more about the city that I study in, and the community that I surround myself in, but I also learnt more about myself as a student. As someone who doesn’t consider the UK my home, I did feel less isolated this year as well. Although I am extremely excited for my placement next year, I can’t wait to come back for my final year and rediscover the city all over again!