The real beginning
Sarah is back at uni for her second year studying Journalism. With a new house, hair colour and savings account, will her second year be better than the first?
I also decided to go blonde; I'm hoping the change will signify a turning point after the chaos of my first year at uni. With a reasonable bank balance and my student loan just in, I am sincerely hoping so.
My first year of uni, spent in halls, was a pretty grim experience for me, so I wasn't particularly looking forward to coming back. After an extremely drunk night out with my friends and a tearful goodbye to my boyfriend, I headed off to sunny ol' Bournemouth for Round Two.
It was a pleasant surprise.
Choosing a house last year was a tricky business, but when me and my three other housemates saw this one we fell in love. I hadn't seen it since March but as I walked through the front door, greeted with hugs from my housemates, I felt like I had come home.
My room is gorgeous, the house is clean and I am living with three girls I get on so well with. I can't help thinking this is what my first year should have been like, but at least now I feel the uni experience has really started for me.
With a new-found motivation, we hit the drinks hard and had a week of partying and enjoying our freedom before the hard work of the second year kicked in.
"I cant help thinking that this is what my first year should have been like, but at least now I feel the uni experience has really started for me."
My timetable so far has been great. There is far less time in classes than last year and although at first this seemed like reason to celebrate, I know it is still going to be a lot of hard work. Two weeks into the new term we have already dived head first into lectures and assessed news days. I think the nights out I had when I first arrived could be the last ones for a while!
I did a week's work placement during the summer at my local paper. It was a really challenging experience but it definitely made me realise how relevant my journalism course is to the industry. I need to start looking for more work placements for the holidays, so that should keep me pretty occupied for a while!
I have also been on a bit of a weight-loss mission this summer and with my boyfriend wanting to become a personal trainer I have been trying my best to keep active. Uni is the best place to keep fit as everything is so cheap for students. The exercise classes at my campus are all really good value so my housemates and I are considering taking up spinning classes. I've also found that keeping fit is a really good way to make friends, and I want to take advantage of any opportunity I can get.
After getting into so many financial difficulties last year, I'm really trying to keep on top of things this time round, although it's hard going back to surviving without the weekly pay cheque. I have set up a separate account for my rent and bills to go out of so I know I will always have money there for them.
Student discounts are always a bargain when shopping too, but I am definitely going to have to cut down on the amount I'm spending this year! I have spent the last few days handing out loads of CVs in town in a bid to get a weekend job so that I don't have to worry so much about my money.
The hardest part of last year was being apart from my boyfriend, but now we have done it once I am confident we can do it again. We have tried to work out rough dates to see each other, but nothing is set in stone as I don't think it's a good idea for us to base everything around our visits. As much as I miss him, I know we have to keep busy and going out and socialising helps the time to go much more quickly.
Now I'm in my new house I'm confident it's going to be a good year. But will I keep out of the dreaded overdraft? We shall see!