My Year at Uni – Year 2

The end of another year. Strangely, the year felt both really long and also passed quickly. This was year 2 of my (BSc) Nutrition but year 3 of my return to uni and current studies as I first completed a foundation year. Whilst at uni this year I turned 30 and although in some ways it feels weird to be a 30 year old uni student it also just feels like another phase of my life.

This year was a hard one for me, not necessarily in terms of content, learning and assessments but in terms of mindset. My mental health has been on a bit of a rollercoaster and it’s that year where the end of the studies are not so far away but still just out of reach. Coronavirus also got thrown into the mix and caused chaos with the end of the uni year and exam period.

Year 2 started with a lot of statistics, I had four modules a week (over 3 days) and each of the modules was heavy on statistics so some weeks seemed to just be based on data with very little ‘nutrition’ knowledge and learning. A few people on the course felt the same and when we asked why this was we were told it’s because it’s a science degree. I get it, we need to know how to use, interpret and analyse data. It’s also super helpful when it comes to reading scientific research papers which are like their whole own language but it was a lot with little respite to have it all in Semester 1. We also had a load of assessments at the end of the semester which is pretty usual but instead of spacing them out they moved the dates so they were mostly due in the same week! Semester 2 seemed a lot easier after the data heavy start to the year. Still 4 modules a week over 3 days but a lot more theory and one module was solely about psychology and coaching (totally my thing). It was really fun to learn a bit more about how to actually apply the knowledge we’ve been learning with people.

The sports nutrition pathway only impacted 1 module but it was definitely the right choice. The learning was so much fun and so interesting delving deeper into human physiology. We also had a lot of lab sessions working with exercise equipment to test fitness with measures like VO2max and Lactate Threshold. It was a lot of fun to use the equipment and experience the tests ourselves.

The last month of uni was delivered online which some teachers were better at than others – those who were not so great with technology and those who had a very workshop/interactive way of teaching struggled. It’s difficult to get the same level of participation online but generally it worked well. If you’ve followed this series weekly throughout my uni journey I’ve mentioned a number of times how I prefer online learning. It saves me commuting in central London and enables students to go at their own pace and review sections of lectures easily. What was a struggle was the online assessments. As we were no longer doing exams in ‘exam conditions’ and these would be open book as we have access to all our notes as well as the internet, the exams were changed to 24 hour assessments. This meant our assessment would be released online at the same time our exam would have been and then we would have 24 hours to complete the questions provided which were 4/5 short answer questions and 2 essays. Seeing as these were now open book we would need to use research ensuring citations, references and bibliographies were included and correct. This was a lot of work and pretty draining. It was difficult to know exactly what was expected of us as it needed to be more composed than a normal exam and researched but we still didn’t have very long so couldn’t complete to the same standard we would usually for a piece of coursework. Luckily, I only had 2 and they didn’t seem too bad so hopefully the grades will be ok.

For now, I have some time off and have no idea what uni will look like next year – will we be doing online learning, will we be on campus or will it be some kind of blend of the two? I’m excited to be nearing the end of the degree but also have no idea what my life will look like after it’s done. I’m surprisingly ok with that. I’m developing my business over this summer in the hopes to get things up and running before the uni year begins and maybe if all works out I’ll move seamlessly out of uni and into full-time work next summer, who knows! I never would have predicted that the uni year would have ended the way it did so I’m not going to even try to guess what’ll be happening this time next year.

Ciao for now and I’ll be back in the Autumn for my final year of uni and my final year of the ‘My Week at Uni’ series.

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