How is second year different from first year? Our PLAs share their experiences

Heading into second year and wondering what to expect? We asked some of our PLAs to reflect on their experiences (and of course, share their top tips for success)!

La Trobe’s PLAs (or Peer Learning Advisors) are all high performing students who’ve been specially trained to help others. Get a head start on next year by using our PLA Zoom drop-in service. Our PLAs love to share study strategies and advice, so they’ll be sure to give you an extra boost of confidence for the exciting year ahead!

Jodie – Bachelor of Nursing

After a full year at university, you’re now a lot more settled in your surroundings and your routine, which is a great feeling.

Often the biggest challenges on moving into second year are: time management and organisational skills, getting back into the rhythm of academic study and balancing study with work and family life. Having the motivation and willpower to concentrate on studies (during COVID-19 in isolation or when living with friends) can also be challenging. And finally, the big one — procrastination! Ensure you keep on top of study requirements and don’t fall behind.

In second year, there was a greater level of independent and self-directed learning with less classroom study hours and more background reading requirements than in the previous year. For placement it is highly recommended to some background research for each of your placements, this will help with your preparation and give you an idea of their expectations.

Kate – Bachelor of Business (Event Management/Marketing) 

There were a quite a few differences between first year and second year that I noticed in my Business course. Firstly, the leniency on aspects of assignments in first year was no longer there. Academics expect that second-year students have no grammatical or spelling errors and can fully reference their work in their chosen field’s correct style (such as La Trobe Harvard or APA 7).

Secondly, academics tend to spend less time performing icebreakers, introducing their subject or the Learning Management System (LMS). There is an expectation that students are already familiar with the subject through the Subject Learning Guide (SLG) and the LMS material in second year.

Finally, lecturers and tutors tend to give first year students resources and material, such as journal articles or industry reports, that they want them to include in their assignments — this normally stops after first year. Lecturers and tutors expect second year students to be able to locate appropriate research material need for their assignments via their class reading materials and the library website.

Mel – Bachelor of Early Childhood and Primary Education 

There were some differences between first and second year in my Education course. Notably the major difference was placement which began second year. Knowing where to go to find valuable information which will help you prepare for placement is essential. The School of Education course home page is one second years should be familiar with. It not only provides dates but a link to a PebblePad portfolio which holds essential information, including documentation and lesson plan templates. It is expected that students can use LMS, Turnitin and PebblePad, and be able to write using academic language and correct referencing.

Eryn – Bachelor of Nursing

First year was all about finding my feet and returning to study as a mature aged student. Adjusting to classes and part time work was challenging, but I did find a balance with study coming first. In the first year everything was set out over 12 weeks and was well structured, however heading into second year everything was condensed into 4 weeks which meant prioritizing and learning, making everything work so we would be placement ready. Though it was scary, I put in 110% effort and kept up with studying with the encouragement of lecturers.

The biggest part that was helpful transitioning into second year nursing was the friendships I have made along the way, and that still continue the way they are today in my third year. Chances are there are people in the same boat as you, and these friendships solidify the lifelong learning you undertake and are there for you when you need some extra help, whether it be university or socially related. The ability to keep in touch with fellow classmates and lecturers especially with what is happening right now is vital to getting through your degree.  

Any questions?

Go to the Learning Hub LMS to check available times and access the Zoom drop-in link to chat with a PLA!