Returning to university life after a placement year – James Sweeney

Two people talking during an event

Summer 2021 has nearly come to an end and with that comes the return to university life. How are you feeling about going back? Are you raring to return, or does the thought of entering back into student life make you feel a little bit anxious? 

Hello, I am James Sweeney, a BSc Management with Information Technology student at the University of Reading, going into the 4th year of my degree programme.

Whether you are coming into university this year as a fresher or a returning student, I think it’s pretty safe to say that the past year and a half have been very far from “normal life”. The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have brought with them numerous waves of disruption and the large majority of our lives has had to adapt in some shape or form. Although life is starting to go back to some form of normality, there is still a lot of uncertainty and anxiety existing surrounding the future.

For me, the past year was my Professional Placement Year, and now, as I look to go back to studying, how should I be feeling? In my opinion, there is no “one size fits all” approach here, a lot of students are going to be feeling differently about coming back, and that is completely normal, it is more than okay to feel whatever you are feeling.  

Personally, I am really looking forward to going back to student life again. Yes, there is a part of me that is feeling a little bit anxious about it all, but I am very optimistic for the year ahead. This year is going to be my last year in university, and I want to do everything that I can to make the most of it!  

Whenever I do start feeling anxious, I find going out for a walk to be a massive stress release. I am originally from the Swansea Valley’s, where there are so many different walks, which I can take on a daily basis, but this is the exact same when I am on campus back in Reading. I have found that there is nothing better than going for a short walk around campus, maybe going through the Harris Gardens or around the lake if it’s warm out, as the perfect way to escape from the real world & to help clear your head.

I’ve been studying at Reading for over 3 years now, and the time has absolutely flown by. As I enter into my final year, I have learned to try and get everything that I can out of my time at university, and that is something that I would recommend for all of you to do the same.

If you do feel a little bit confused or feel like you need some support, please do consider reaching out for some help. The University has lots of different support resources available to you, ranging from mental health resources, budgeting & money advice from the Student Finance team, welfare advice from the Student Welfare team & so much more! All of these resources can be found on the Guidance & Support pages over on Essentials.

If I could share one piece of advice for the future, it is to remain optimistic wherever you can, you never know where it is going to get you.

How are you feeling about going back to university? What part of student life are you looking forward to going back to?

Thank you all for reading and I wish you all the best in joining or returning in 2021/22.

James Sweeney 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *