The Second Year Slump

Something that has hit me this year at university has been a loss of motivation. There are multiple identifiable reasons for this:

  • The layout of my course, meaning there are periods of the year where I have no summative assignments or tests (things that count)
  • My motivations based on what I want to do in life
  • The weighting of second year being 25%

I do wonder whether this is widely felt and if so whether it is actually widely known about by many students. This could also be a family thing, as I know my brother before me had this issue. Perhaps when I came into uni I should’ve been aware that there would be a point where everything felt like it had almost slowed to a stop. There’s a reason that I fill my time with this blog, thinking up new businesses (will be discussed soon!) and basically doing anything I can to keep myself intellectually entertained, and it’s simply because I feel that everything going on around me at university is slow paced and slightly uninspiring. Although, as a disclaimer, I haven’t felt like this throughout my whole university career, and in writing this, I am trying to diagnose what I can assume is an issue that lots of students share.

With regards to my course, I have been very interested in Economics for many years, and on top of that, the vast majority of my modules are based on interesting topics. That being said, it is difficult to motivate yourself to keep working hard every day when you know that you are not going to be examined for months. I have 9 exams in May/June this year. Across the year, I have 2 summative essays and 3 multiple choice tests. Regardless of when I start the essay, if I put maximum effort in, it’ll take me a solid week, maximum a week and a half. Let’s say that means I spend 3 weeks doing essays. With tests, I may start revising 2 to 3 weeks before, and do maybe 2-3 hours a day maximum. Taking 3 weeks at 3 hours a day, that’s 2.635 days of solid work. So, in the 2 semesters, that’s 22 weeks, I have a maximum of under 4 weeks of actual work. I totally understand that University is about self study, self motivation and not being spoon fed during my degree, but surely having 18 weeks of minimal actual work and zero examinable work is not going to boost my motivation. Hence, the slump begins.

“Slump, and the world slumps with you. Push, and you push alone.”

Laurence J Peter

My motivations for pushing my life in the direction I want are changing. During school, I think many of us are motivated to firstly, get good GCSEs, then A levels and getting into a good university, internship or whatever else you want to do. At university, your first year motivation is PASS THE YEAR. That’s 40%. In my opinion, that’s not motivation. In second year, there’s a bit more, but explained above, not enough for me apparently. You basically have 2 years to get yourself to the final push where you actually need to be motivated, and maybe that’s what leads to the slump. This year has led to me wanting to make money, wanting to be more creative with my ideas and wanting to push myself out there and learn more. However, the stuff I now want to learn isn’t the same as before, and the more my degree continues, the more I want to get to the end so I can take my degree and use it to push myself in the direction I truly want to go and get me out of this slump.

I briefly want to discuss the weighting of second year. I don’t think it pushes students to do their best. By weighting second year at 25%, it simply says that you can screw this up and it’s not the end of the world. Now, I may now not do well in my second year and be ever grateful that it was only 25%, but if it had been more (35-40%), I truly believe I would be working harder, smarter and not be in such a slump. That’s just my two cents.

I would love to hear feedback on this. It is always interesting to see who is in this same situation, or simply to find out about people’s university situation and their opinions, whether agreeing or disagreeing with my own. Regardless of all of this, thanks for reading and I hope that perhaps I’ve captivated you enough to follow this blog for the many posts that are to come!

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