Dana Herescu
2nd year, BSc Economics
I am a second year economics student from Romania. I have a passion for writing, despite my degree, which is 'drowned' in maths. I love to meet new people and find out new things, which is why I came to study in London, the place of all possibilities, as they say.

Saving money just got easier, what?!

What is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of university? For some the first instinct is to fantasize about the endless social encounters. Others are excited about the opportunity to actually learn and build a proper future for themselves. Most of us, however, are feeding off the thought that we finally become independent and can start our lives as adults. What we don’t think of right away, though, is that it all comes at a price…known to the general public as student loans.
I neglected this aspect, I was wrapped in the excitement of leaving home and starting from scratch that I forgot I won’t be reliant on my parents for much longer. £9000 per year, that’s already on my debt list…and it is only the beginning. I can’t study without textbooks and other resources and we all know the lecture slides can only do so much. So I had to figure out a way to make money…better said, to recover some of my losses. I decided to sell all the materials that helped me to get a first.
I thought it was going to be easy, people want to buy stuff at a much cheaper price, they want firsts…the lethal combination. The only problem is that these people are really hard to track down ! Luckily, I came across a website called Campusboard.co.uk, which is basically an online marketplace where you can trade unwanted items with other students: textbooks, electronics, and even accommodation, the useful stuff you need to make your uni life easier for a bargain (half the normal price!). I posted my Statistics textbook and a few days later another student from QMUL contacted me with an offer to buy it. We met on campus the next day and completed the exchange. I earned money on my textbook and they got it for much cheaper than on Amazon. What I like the most is that it is completely safe and you know for sure these people are students who are in need of help, just like me and you.
I really recommend it to anyone who wants to buy or sell stuff for amazing deals and also get the chance to meet other students. I am not the one to trust the virtual world easily, but this one is really worth it!

Second year – a devil in disguise ?

Yes, yes it is. I am not sure exactly how it happened or what it even is that happened, but my uni life is not as together as it seemed to be. One month ago everything was a bright pink, with some shades of red from my lipstick. Lectures were worthwhile, classes did the trick and the coursework went smooth – it didn’t exist. Now- a completely different story. With midterm season at its peak, opening the actual textbooks made me realize I didn’t know why Marx thought that there is a tendency of the profit to fall, I couldn’t figure out what makes a random sample random and I most certainly couldn’t tell you the relationship between Phillips Curve and the Aggregate Supply (the dark side of economics). Oh, did I mention the utter madness caused by desperately seeking an internship for the summer ?
What had happened to my inner peace being…well, so peaceful ? I jumped from red on my lips to grey on my soul, without even a warning. We are expected to know everything and we are questioned on everything; this everything I’m talking about is about 4 times bigger than it was last year. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot more interesting, but I miss the days when reading the slides and going to classes were an almost guaranteed first. They tell you first year is to adjust, they don’t tell you that second year is to survive.

It may be that I am overreacting, since I am writing this at a high point on my stress scale, but I think you could do with a warning: don’t underestimate the workload and don’t assume you can cram 3 months worth of lectures in one night- you will be proven very wrong. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

With Christmas break just around the corner and 2 more midterms to go, I am determined to start fresh next term, put on my red lipstick and make sure I study constantly, thoroughly, to avoid midnight breakdowns…Who am I kidding ? It’s university, if you don’t have a meltdown, it will definitely find a way to give it to you. But that’s what makes it the ‘uni life’ we all crave for, doesn’t it?

From ‘fresherhood’ to adulthood

Who could have thought that the transition from a first year to a second year would bring about such dramatic changes ? It’s true that leaving student accommodation to live with the people that have become your spiritual siblings during freshers’ week is a huge sign of evolution, but it’s something more than that- I actually grew up.

I got a hang of how to study…and kind of enjoy it now

Yes, I am not a lost sheep anymore. I am confident, the time management skills got unbelievably strong after the chaos of first year’s exams and I do not panic anymore when hearing the word mid-term; it’s more of a ‘bring it on’ attitude rather than a ‘how am I going to do this’ mentality. It could be that the amplitude and workload of first year got me one step closer to managing responsibilities like an adult- or I just can’t find the time to freak out.

No more parties every other day

It seems unbelievable, but it’s not. I gradually got tired of being tired. Spending the night with a couple of quality people turns out to be a lot more fun than going out in fancy clubs (from where it took 3 hours to get back home, because I wasn’t lucky enough to enjoy the perks of night tube in my first year) and realizing that this lifestyle is just too expensive and not as fun if it becomes a habit. I decided to go out when it’s really worth it and for the rest of the time treat myself with nice, chill evenings with the people that matter- and some Drapers from time to time.

I started to consider what I want to be when I grow up, besides happy

First year was incredibly fun, with all of its chaotic moments and constant freshers’ events, the only thing I had to stress about was how to make friends and how to get good grades at the same time. Now, however, life confronts me with the ultimate question “What do I want to be?”. The stress is off the charts with this one; it requires a thorough research, probably more than 3rd years do for their dissertation.
As an Economics student it’s really hard, since everyone expects us to become investment bankers (a.k.a to give up on our lives the moment we graduate). I want something else for myself, I want adventure, travel, human interaction, pressure and space to evolve- believe me, finding the job to give you all of this is hard. Internships are, apparently, the key to figuring yourself out, so now I’m in the crazy process of applying all over, in the hope that my path will be enlightened.

Friends come and even more friends go

I left home, came to uni, met many new people, found friends, everything went smoothly. That’s all first years want-lots of friends and lots of parties (completely fair). As the year went by I started to put things in balance and become aware of what is truly important: having someone to be there for you at 2 am when I am sick and not 20 ‘someones’ to go out with during the night and not talk to during the day. I understood that I need healthy relationships for me to be a healthy person.

First year has been so eventful and filled with memories, but one year is more than enough. It’s time to focus on myself and what makes me grow as a person, because, unfortunately, those late nights in Soho were no help in discovering what it is that makes me an accomplished person.

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