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SPS student voices and experiences
The last semester: Martha reflects on her time in Edinburgh

The last semester: Martha reflects on her time in Edinburgh

Hi everyone! I’m Martha, a final year student in my last semester studying Scandinavian Studies and Social Policy. The beginning of Semester Two has brought an unexpected sense of reflection: a feeling that everything is slowly coming to an end. I thought, ‘what better way to reflect on these emotions than to write another blog post?’ While this year is my last as an undergraduate here at Edinburgh, it has also contained many firsts; due to Covid restrictions in my first and second years, and then going to Sweden for a year abroad in third year, it was not until this year that I had been in the library without a mask, or sat in a fully-seated lecture theatre. As my final semester begins, I’ve found myself reflecting on my university experience, thinking about how much has changed since I moved to Edinburgh.

Friends and Socialising

When moving to university, finding friends is often one of the most frequent concerns. A lot of emphasis is placed on Welcome Week and finding friends in your accommodation. I’m not going to deny that those are great places to start building friendships that can last the length of your degree and longer, but having experienced my first year with strict Covid measures, which meant that all my classes were delivered online, and travel restrictions forcing me to live at home in the second semester, I can honestly say that the best friendships can come later in your time at university. There’s sometimes a misunderstanding that you need to stick with the same societies and social circles throughout your whole university experience, and once you’re in your later years it’s too late to join something new. But if you go to a new society being enthusiastic and open-minded, you can open the door to a new university experience and meet like-minded people at the same time.


Coming into 2024, one of my goals was to find more balance. Not between anything in particular, but just generally in life to feel more balanced and settled. In my first year I struggled with balancing the seemingly never-ending reading lists set for my classes: I never knew how they expected me to read so much while meeting new people and setting up a new life, not to mention finding time to relax and have some alone time! Something I’ve realised as I’ve come to the end of my degree is that it’s almost always impossible to do all the set work – and the tutors know that. Yes, reading can help you to have a deeper understanding of some topics, but it’s equally important to spend time doing other things and escape the bubble of academia. I’ve tried to implement a daily walk or run, or even just sit outside reading a book (if the Scottish weather allows it, of course). University is about studying, but it’s also about the things you experience with new people in new places.

Study Spots

The Health & Wellbeing Centre, Central Campus
The Main Library is popular, but it’s not for everyone! Why not try studying in one of the multitude of other options on central campus?

If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent hours in the brightly-lit, toxically-silent and mind-numbing atmosphere of the main library. When I was in my second year, I spent days sitting on the same chair in the same spot, trying to convince myself that it was in this building that I was most productive. Oh, how wrong I was. It was not until I went to Uppsala University in Sweden on exchange that I realised how helpful a variety of study spaces can be. When I returned to Edinburgh, I was determined to explore the libraries and study spaces here. They can be quite hidden, especially as the Main Library is so dominant and sometimes you’ll need to be in a particular school to have access to special libraries. Some of my new favourites are New College, the ECA library and the Waterstones Cafe on Princes Street. If you’re new to Edinburgh, or even if you’re a fourth year like me, it’s not too late to find new places to study, and who knows, maybe they’ll bring the burst of productivity you’ve been needing.


Thank you for reading my blog! I hope you found it useful, and wish you all the best in whatever you have to come.


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