My second year of Airline and Airport Management at Buckinghamshire New University has just come to an end – and what an experience it was! Studying through Covid-19 was tedious and challenging at times, with connectivity issues, lack of motivation, and yet plenty of books to be read and coursework to be written. It’s been a tough year for all, and one that I’m sure has made students globally more resilient and dynamic too.
This year at BNU I delved into a bunch of interesting modules, and researched some fascinating topics: The future of Edinburgh Airport, videoconferencing and its effect on business travel, the possible future of the Italian airline market, and the crisis response to BA Flight 38. Rest assured I’ll be writing about most of them on the blog in the not too distant future!
The second year at Bucks (and I’m sure at most universities) was certainly a step up. Marking was more critical and far more in-depth academic research and analysis was required to meet the mark. I must say, the past year has made me feel prepared and on a higher level – ready for my third and final year. I’m looking forward to writing a dissertation, and returning to face-to-face study (back to how it should be!).
See below several tips I have for aviation students (and any university students, really) who are getting ready for their second year.
1. Don’t Take Your Foot Off The Pedal…
Many finish their first year with a high average grade and feel in cruise control. It’s tempting to keep doing what you’re doing… ‘if it’s working, why fix it’ etc. However the ‘second year slump’ is a common occurrence, in which students can fall out of love with their degree, lose focus, or simply become overwhelmed by the jump in academic level.
My advice for this would be to not switch off over the summer. Read some books, do some research, stay engaged with the industry. Make sure you come back in September with your referencing hat on, and with your mind enthusiastic and ready for another successful year.
2. Balance University and Work Life
Another downside to a successful first year average is that it can make students overestimate how much extra-curricular workload they can take on. I’m guilty of this myself. Many reflect on a first year with plenty of free time, and opt to fill that time with a time consuming and tiring job.
Your second year often counts towards your final degree. Make sure you balance your study and work – and keep aside time for your personal life and socialising too! Covid-19, working from home, and no freedom to socialise has really highlighted the need for a healthy balance as we emerge from the pandemic.
If I were to recommend one book for you to read over the summer, it’d be David Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done‘ which runs through a methodology to help you master the art of stress-free productivity. I’ve found his framework to be fantastic for ensuring I get through work-life, uni-life, and personal-life without feeling like a mental mess at the end of it. In hectic industries such as aviation, you’ll want to make strict time management and organisation a habit too.
3. Start Looking At Your Options For Post-Uni
Many students, although they’re specialising in a subject, can often find it difficult to pinpoint what they want to do with their careers and their lives in general. Don’t be disheartened or concerned if you’re struggling to decide. If you’re just coming to the end of your first year, you have plenty of time on your side (and plenty of modules to help you explore new sectors too).
Don’t forget that whilst university degrees are a form of you ‘specialising’ they also open a vast array of different career paths. Aviation degrees can open you up to thousands of different and unique jobs in airports, airlines, air traffic control, aircraft manufacturers, and even government. These courses are usually very transferrable too. Almost every module I study has the word ‘management’ in there somewhere – maybe I’ll end up managing a small business or working my way up another industry altogether.
Just before your second year is a great time to reflect on what your first year has taught you, and think up 3-5 different career paths that would interest you in particular. If you can narrow it down to 1 or 2, even better. This will help you focus in your second year and make you feel like you’ve got a real goal to work towards. My goal is to do a masters degree in Airport Planning and Management at Cranfield University.
4. Become Truly Academic
The easiest way to develop your knowledge and navigate your second year is to surround yourself by academia. Become a pro at researching and referencing. Look to continuously improve your grammar and writing style (writing blogs can be a fun way to do that!).
Master the ins and outs of your university’s library. Learn what books to find and where to find them, what journal articles to download and how you can easily access them. In your second year, ensuring you don’t have too much of an emphasis on websites is really important. Only use websites if they’re from official bodies or trusted and reliable sources.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a 30+ long reference list – research the topic thoroughly and approach your research from several different angles. Make sure you include and understand theories too – this is something I need to work on – whilst they often seem confusing and sometimes vague, if you find the right theories your assignments will come together nicely and you may tick-off a crucial part of the assignment brief too.
I do hope some of these tips will be useful to you. If you ever need any advice or help with uni life, be sure to get in touch on my social media profiles below. Always here to help. Best of luck with second year!