Life as a Second Year Student in York

Following the calm of first year, second year is much more of a shock to the system than people realise!

York Unlimited sign on bridge next to Central Hall, overlooking lake
(Image: Iwan Stone)

So far, second year has been extremely hectic and fast paced. 

Despite moving closer to graduating and being forced to actually become an adult and decide what I want to do with my life, I rather worryingly, still struggle to figure out the correct setting to use on the washing machine. 

Apart from dealing with the daily tasks which accompanies living in an actual house like a proper adult, such as what goes in what bin, making sure you don’t exponentially exceed your houses monthly bill cap, and as I have already mentioned, the pressure which comes from doing your washing, second year has evoked the resounding fear in me which accompanies the little phrase, ‘this year counts’. 

Despite the pressure of assessments and the struggle to balance work and social life, second year has been full of amazing moments and that’s largely due to some of the amazing things I have experienced in York. 

Compiling everything I have experienced and learnt so far, I will impart some knowledge on some of my favourite places and personal experiences, from living and working in this amazing city. 

Firstly, for any first years I cannot stress enough that first year doesn’t count! I’d encourage you to go out as much as you can, do enough work to pass the year, but don’t miss out on the social side of first year. 

My favourite places for a night out would be Salvation and Kuda, although if you go to Kuda be warned in advance about their stairs. Last year I queued for an hour to get in and within ten minutes of being in the building, I slipped down the stairs, tore the ligaments in my foot and ended up in the hospital. Worst of all, I was embarrassingly sober. 

At least I can say I had the full first year experience. On another note, Turtle Bay and Las Iguanas are both good places to pre. They do some fantastic two for one cocktails. 

Some of my favourite places to go in the city include Brew and Brownie, Marzano’s restaurant and The House of Trembling Madness.                                                                 

But each person will find their own places in the city. 

The many bookshops hidden amongst the city, walks along the river and the minster gardens, along with the small, unassuming cafes, are just a few places which feel like home to me. 

It is important to find your place in the city, as this time in life can often feel very lonely and isolating. Your concept of home will probably change, just as mine has. Living in a different place each year, then going back to your childhood house, despite no longer being a child, evokes something I can’t quite describe, although I will try.

I myself, feel like I’m mourning a time in my life which has gone forever, although it is not an                            

overwhelmingly sad process. The experience of learning more about myself is exciting and admittedly rather frightening. But so far, I am loving it. As far as advice goes, third years I wish you all the best with your dissertations and please give me advice, as I am utterly terrified. 

First years, enjoy every second, as it goes way too fast. To the rest of us, don’t feel too pressured to find yourself or expect some great epiphany to tell you what you are going to do with the rest of your life. 

I am beginning to discover that no one ever really knows what they’re doing with their lives. I think they just smile and hope for the best.