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  • 12 November 2018
  • 11 min read

My second year university experience

  • Chloe Lawrence
    Registered Mental Health Nurse

Chloe gives us an insight as to what her second year of university was like for her as a student nurse. Read on and watch her video to find out more!

Play video: Chloe talks about her experience during her second year of university.

I made one of these videos last year and now I'm making one this year. The one last year I'm not very happy with anymore because it was quite early into my YouTube days but if you do want to check out my first year at university experience I'll link it down below.

As I am now coming to the end of my second year I thought I would discuss with you my second year university experience in case you hadn't already worked that out!

So for anyone who doesn't know I am training to be a mental health nurse, so whereas most people finished University many months ago I actually don't finish uni until the middle of August because I only get four weeks off for summer - yay nursing…

So I've still got a few more weeks left in uni. I finish around the middle of August but because my course is very practical based and the majority of my time is spent on placement.

I spend time working on mental health wards or in mental health services, I only actually spend 12 weeks a year in uni which is great for me because I am NOT a uni person - it's hard to explain because I am academic, I did very well in my GCSEs and I did very well in my a levels the second time around.

I made a video about how I failed my A-Levels if you want to check that out but the second time around I did really well, so I am an academic person but I don't enjoy the academic side of my course.

I want to be a nurse, I want to be out there working on wards working with people.

I am personally really really glad that my course is much more practical than academic based, that's just a personal preference and obviously that’s specific to the course that I'm doing you know if you're doing English or psychology or whatever you're going to spend a lot more time in uni and it's probably going to be a lot more relevant to you - if I want to go higher and higher in nursing but it's not really relevant for my every day helping people get on with their lives, helping people learn how to cope with whatever they've got going on, helping to keep people safe you know the stuff they're teaching me and uni is not going to help me do that.

My ability to write an essay on public health measures and whether or not they're effective is not gonna make me a good nurse.

I find uni very frustrating; I don't want to be sat in a classroom reading about how the government introduced this law and it has this effect on people's health, or learning about the different ways research are carried out because that's great if you're going to go into academia but I don't, I want to work on wards and I want to help people have normal lives.

I want people to live the lives that they want to lead and I want to help them to do that. I don't enjoy being at uni because I don't feel like it helps me to do that.

I have however done very well this year academically so I shouldn't complain: I'm finishing the year with 89% which is a first for anyone who doesn't know how the grading at uni works.

Anything over 70% is a first, between 60 and 69 is a 2.1, 50 and 59 is a 2.2 and anything below 50 is a 3. Essentially anything over 70% so I comfortably fell into the top grade and that's because worked my ass off and I enjoy it and I don't think it's going to make me a good nurse but I still I still worked hard because it is important to me to show that I am a good nurse and I can do this.

I am proud of what I've achieved this year in terms of academia I'm much more proud of how well I think I've come as a nurse I had a very good example of this quite recently.

My first placement tested me a lot

My first placement at the beginning of this year back in September was on an adolescent mental health unit in CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health services), so teenagers that are in a hospital setting to keep them safe usually.

A lot of the young people their self-harm: the most common ways of doing that are to cut and to tie ligatures and I remember all the way back in September I found a girl that had tied a ligature so she tied something around her neck and I panicked.

I did everything you're supposed to do, you know I pressed the alarm, I've got other staff there, I assisted in every way that I could because as a student you’re not really supposed to get involved in such serious situations, at least not alone anyway you need to do it with support from other people.

I played my role in that situation but I panicked. Luckily it wasn't a serious situation and you know me panicking didn't have any detrimental effect on the young person - I wouldn't say they were fine afterwards but they were alive, they were well afterwards.

I still go back to that ward very regularly even though I'm not on place in there I'm not there as a student nurse anymore I go there to work as a support worker which is kind of like an unqualified nurse and I do that through an agency so whenever I've got no work or uni I just go there and do kind of like freelance that kind of thing just whenever it suits me.

I go there very regularly because I love the young people, I love the staff there and it is an area that I'm seriously considering going into when I qualify. Last week it was a very similar incident where I was doing the checks I found a young person with a ligature and I know I handled that a million times better than I handled the situation back in September.

After that incident even though you're always shaken up after something like that because it is my job it is what I want to do to keep the young people safe and it was quite scary that for a moment I might not be able to I might not have done that, I might not have kept someone safe so it's always kind of shakes you up after incident like that but I definitely handled it a million times better and I am so proud of myself.

I think it's really hard when you do this kind of thing to see that you're getting better because with essays you know you might get 52 and then you might get 57 and then you might get 63 and you can watch your SAT scores getting better but I think it's really hard to see the progression you've made as a nurse so that incident for me was like ‘yep, I'm doing this I'm a good nurse and look how far I've come’ kind of thing.

That was that was an incredible experience for me and again luckily the young person was safe, the situation was resolved.

My living arrangements

In terms of my living arrangements this year I have been living in a house. Last year I lived in the university provided accommodation and then this year I private rented with a few friends. It hasn't gone quite as well as I'd hoped; I did have a little bit of difficulties with my flatmates last year, there was quite a lot of bitchiness.

Two of my housemates in particular had very opposing personalities and they clashed, it affected the dynamics of the flat and this year there were four of us and we decided to privately rent a house just through a letting agency like you would normally. I thought it was going to be a million times better.

One of the things that we kept falling out over in my flat last year was cleaning because some of us were a lot tidier than others and it's quite stressful when other people are just leaving stuff everywhere and you know you aren't doing that and it's really frustrating and all four of us that live in this house lived with different people last year.

When we were living with different people last year we were all complaining about how many people there were, about how disrespectful people were and how inconsiderate they were of other people we were like oh my god let's live together it'll be great we'll get on so much better because we won't have any problems yet we still had these problems and then on top of that obviously you have to pay bills and things separately which again caused arguments.

I think I'm actually going to do a whole video, maybe later not quite now, about things to consider before you live with people because quite early on in your first year you start talking to each other about where and who you're going to live with next year in your second year I think I'm going to make a video about the things that you should think about before you live with someone because there are so many things I didn't even consider would be an issue and yet they become massive issues in our house.

I'll probably put that out around October/November time because I think that's mostly when people start you know discussing where they're going to live next year but yeah this whole living situation this year has just been way more stressful than I had planned it to be.

I am actually going to go back into halls (the university accommodation) for my last year, I don't really want to but it's cheaper and I can't stay in this house any longer!

Getting more social

One thing that I spoke about in my video last year was how I wanted to get more involved.

I wanted to do more things and that hasn't happened I'm not even gonna lie to you, that has not happened this year it has just been crazy busy and a lot of people told me that second year is the hardest academically.

I don't know if this is for all courses but for my course in particular a lot of people said that second year was the hardest.

It's when you've got the most pressure on your time, you have the most stuff to do in the least amount of time so I just I couldn't physically fit it in and I've done a lot of trips this year. I've been to Glasgow, Prague and Budapest and I've got another trip to Tanzania coming up super super soon so I've been working more to pay for those trips which I am I do not regret in the slightest.

I love my job, I love what I do and I'm very excited to be going on those trips and to have been on those trips so yeah I just I haven't done more fun stuff but it is something I definitely want to do next year next year when I'm back in halls.

My rent will be cheaper so I'll be paying less and it's my last year as a student so I want to enjoy it a bit more, I want to be a bit more sociable and I'm probably going to move out of London when I qualify because rent is extortionate so yeah I want to make the most of being in London for my last year.

I have also found this really cool thing where it's like an adult netball tournament kind of thing and I really want to join. I was going to do it recently I was going to do it now but it's like an eight week course where you play with the same people every eight weeks you have to sign up for the whole time and I just couldn't I couldn't fit it in, none of the start dates near me worked with me getting back from Budapest and before I go to Tanzania but that's definitely something I'm going to do next year.

I'm going to go and do a bit of netball because that was one of the sports that I enjoyed more when I was at school. I think that's everything I have to say about my second year of uni. I am very glad that there's only one more year to go because I just I just want to be a nurse now like I just want to get on with it.

I would have be in there and I want to be able to afford to live on my own - my god I'm so looking forward to that!

Did you guys found this video helpful? If you did don't forget to give it a big thumbs up and I will see you again next time!

About the author

  • Chloe Lawrence
    Registered Mental Health Nurse

I qualified as a Mental Health Nurse (RMN) in August of 2018 and started as a newly qualified nurse shortly after. On top of nursing I juggle creating content for both my YouTube channel and blog.

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  • Chloe Lawrence
    Registered Mental Health Nurse

About the author

  • Chloe Lawrence
    Registered Mental Health Nurse

I qualified as a Mental Health Nurse (RMN) in August of 2018 and started as a newly qualified nurse shortly after. On top of nursing I juggle creating content for both my YouTube channel and blog.