Five things you feel when you’re in second year and have no idea

September 29, 2016
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The guest lecturer stands at the podium. She’s young, accomplished and excited to give her first lecture. You’re suitably excited to sit back for what you think is going to be a chill AF lecture… that is, until she says something that actually makes you look up from your screen.

“If you’ve left your internships to third year then I’d be really concerned for you.”

Oh shit.

You’ve heard this so many times, but now it’s the guest lecturer from the outside world – the real world where your biggest concern is no longer whether Turnitin is going to screw you over.

Why? Because until that very moment you’d assumed everything was just going to work out the way it has for thousands of other students. But going with the flow for the past year and a half has suddenly left you rushing towards a seemingly bottomless waterfall of uncertainty.

Annnnd cue the crying laughter.

“Wait, I’m going to be a third year?”

Where did all that time go? First year was all fun and games and innocent failings. The first semester of second year was all fun and games and guilty failings. The second semester of second year… well… yep.

For those who are studying a three-year degree, this means you’re graduating next year *nervous sweating*. And if you’re graduating next year, then that means very adult things are soon to come.

So again: oh shit.

Mid-uni crisis

Then naturally this begins to happen:

“Is this really what I want to do?”

“Am I happy, like am I really, really happy?”

“Am I job ready? Can I even get a job?”

“Should I talk to someone?”

“There’s barely anything on my CV.”

“What if I don’t get a job? I’ll be stuck in retail forever.” 

And then you’ll consider “change”: changing courses, picking up a minor, extending majors, doing post-grad or in very extreme cases – changing universities.

Swimming in the river of denial

“I’m fine" you tell yourself moments later, “I’ll sort myself out over the summer”, because it isn’t the end of the world. You still have a whole year to sort yourself out and the next year’s summer holiday to start applying for jobs…right? And you could always go back to uni if you’re not ready. Actually, you might just take that gap year you’ve been thinking about – an opportunity to finally explore the world and be your own Walter Mitty.

“Who says I have to follow what everybody else does? I’m so fine.”

Look to the left, look to the right

And then you do the thing that you’re not supposed to do. You compare yourself to others. Especially to the chosen ones drowning in internships, HDs and tutor love. You know it’s unhealthy but you can’t help but let it happen, particularly when these students are hand-picked to talk to first years about getting involved.

…not feeling so fine anymore.


Now you’re inspired or scared shitless (same thing) so you pick up your game. You talk to the chosen ones for advice, drop by your course coordinator’s office and start replying to emails for keen bean interns. Because even if you don’t know what the hell the next year will bring, at least you’ll have something else to say when asked, “So, how’s uni going?”

Steffanie Tan

Steffanie is studying a Bachelor of Journalism at Monash University and is horrible at bios and that is all that needs to be said.

Image: Keirsten Marie, Flickr Creative Commons license