What Students are Saying

Peter Jago, our second year placement student volunteered to talk about his experiences. As a student, are you interested in participating in one of our focus groups?

What have other students said?

I think I probably spent most of all my second year partying, to be honest, and playing sport and working and then towards the end of the year panicked and hadn’t really done much work …

I would quite happily tell students I didn’t really do anything in second year and really you should.

…by the second year I’d only just sort of grasped it -  understanding of university life,  and then just decided to experience it… So probably the less important academic stuff went out of the window a bit for me in the second year…

Second year induction tends to be quite a lot of power point, quite dry in terms of sitting there for two hours… things like plagiarism… After half an hour of the presentation I am bored and falling asleep…

… First year you go to every lecture and really trying.  Second year you sort of decide – this tutorial isn’t really important so I don’t have to go to it.  I sort of dipped the first half of my second year…

…In year two they are almost left to do their own things, they are juggling a lot of very different demands on their time and on their energies through that period…

The Story of My Second Year Slump

This is the story of a second year slump as experienced by a recent LJMU graduate. The story is narrated by a second year drama student and is a summary of the students second year experience.

LSU and Second Year Students

I would say Level 2 students are the easiest to get in contact with. I don’t think I’ve got a reason for it… when I found this in my diary I was looking through the different types of students I have spoken to and most of them are second years.  I don’t know why that is… I go in to lectures to speak to students …and lecturers are more open to inviting me to level 2 classes rather than 1 or 3…

My impression is … that it’s easier for us to get first year students to sign up for some form of semi formal voluntary opportunities. And third years, who are looking to perhaps cement some of their skills and get it on a certificate. But we don’t actually have as many second year volunteers… They might be easier to get access to second year, but second year volunteers have a  smaller base.

First years and third years are the more active ones for course reps [not the second years]

… Anecdotally second years are more likely to have part time work and that is taking a big chunk of their time. Certainly with the community reps- they tend to have other jobs…

Priorities and Motivation

From my experience when I was a second year… I think that it took a while for me personally to get in to university, understanding it and stuff like that. By the second year I’d only just sort of grasped it  and then just … decided to experience university life…

I don’t know if I’m going against the norm here, but I think I actually got more focussed. The first year… everyone bangs on about how it doesn’t actually end up in your grade, so that at the start of the second year, when things were going towards my final grade I did take that on and I did try to work a bit harder. I was focusing on getting a placement, I knew that my second year was going to count for that as well, so yeah, I’d say I picked up in the second year…

I was a bit different… First year you go to every lecture and first year really trying. Second year you sort of decide – this tutorial isn’t really important so I don’t have to go to it.  I … dipped the first half of my second year.

I don’t think from talking to second years and from being second year myself, they understand that jump between, you know, the first year – not counting, the second year – the twenty five percent  counting.  I don’t think that’s very conscious on people’s minds.  I think people think necessarily that seventy five percent will save them, in fact my twenty five percent really pulled me down and I had to work so hard in third year to get the grade I did.

I think I probably spent most of all my time partying, to be honest, and playing sport and working and then towards the end of my year panicked and hadn’t really done much work to try and get a placement as well

…if somebody came in and said: I’m a third year student now, I didn’t work my arse off (a bit like the mentoring system…).  If you had those opportunities to ask questions and learn from other people’s mistakes…  I would quite happily tell students: I didn’t really do anything in second year and really you should.

Especially I think [module] choice makes a difference.  I think I had a panic as well. I was like… I don’t know how to chose the modules, I don’t know what I’m choosing… I ended up choosing a bit like well what are you doing and what are you doing?

Summer Break

I think what it could be is just having that very long summer in between, then you come back and it’s a slow start with the induction and that’s where there could be a slump…

I’m not aware that the university has any contact with people for four months. If I didn’t have a one to one with my manager for four months, I would probably be doing all sorts of daft things in terms of being a staff member…

Part Time Work

I went home every weekend in my first year and then, my second year, I pretty much worked in Liverpool the whole time. So I stayed over the first year’s summer to work and then carried on… So I was probably was spending majority of my time with sport and work.

My friends … I believe they started to all mainly have jobs in the second year or play sport.

Assessment

The only thing I can think of in the second year is to do with assessment – that it tends to be quite uniform in the character. I think in first year we seem to be going on trips and study reports and so forth. I think looking at some of the programme specs  – we’ve looked at second years  – they are quite heavily towards just essays or exams. It’s just exams, you don’t necessarily see the innovation or people talking about their education in an excited way like in first or third years.

Induction

Induction in second year gets repetitive, it’s the same induction you had in your first year.  Every module the induction is to read through the module handbook and be told about plagiarism and collusion, it’s just very repetitive…

Certainly induction that I have seen, the tone of those inductions is  – why,  don’t you know this already…?

I think… [in induction] they showed me some correlation graph or something, you know, the relationship between studying for this many hours and getting this result.  I don’t think students necessarily understand the twenty five percent and how that works how it breaks down.

Induction that I have sat in on tends to be quite a lot of power point,  quite dry in terms of sitting there for two hours… Things like plagiarism, so I suppose after half an hour of the presentation I am bored and falling asleep.

Personal Tutoring

Throughout the year [you need] as well the reflective opportunities…  Not just in terms of discipline, but in terms of where are you now and what next and how does it fit within the framework of being a student?   One or two places say we do this and I don’t doubt it but [what about] the other eighty five percent of the university?   We cling to good practice, the rest of it isn’t necessarily bad practice, it’s just not happening … I understand the pressures of numbers and so forth but then we should probably be more honest about that…