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Final Year Fears
After a hectic few weeks starting term 1 of my final year, the start of reading week means I’ve finally found time to reflect on all the highs and lows of my first term and – hopefully – help anyone out with the struggles of final year stress!
My first couple of weeks were exciting and after having a whole year of adventures and relaxation it was actually nice to be studying and learning new things (I doubt this attitude will last the whole year though haha). However, the impending doom of summative assignments, weekly readings and the DREADED dissertation meant my high spirits started to flag very soon into week 2. But having several weeks to reflect on the work of final year and organise my time a bit better, I can now see that a lot of the deadlines are extremely feasible and hopefully this post will put some of your fears to rest.
I know this is said every single year (and EVERY YEAR I struggle to keep on top of everything at uni) but it’s always worth a shoutout. Managing your time in final year is one of the things you should be prioritising; good time management makes your life a lot less stressful and gives you a heap more time in your day. I always work best using a whiteboard and a diary which holds EVERYTHING I’m doing throughout my week – no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, I will always put it in my diary so my brain has more space for important things. Try to buy a diary or a calendar that you look at every day, or even a whiteboard that you can alter as the week goes along – sticky notes are also a good way of remembering important things. Try to get this sorted ASAP because it will instantly change the stress levels of your term.
Readings, readings, readings…
I’m also sure that this piece of info has been DRILLED into you from day 1 of first year but it really is so important to keep on top of all your readings. Not only will it make your workload a lot lighter during the end of term assessment time/exam period, but often readings are included in your exams so the more familiar you are with each weeks readings, the better your chances of doing even better in exams! Make brief notes on articles so you don’t have to read the whole thing again, and make a note of the reference for it too in case you decide to use it in future essays – it may seem like unnecessary work at the time, but it will make your life so much easier in the future I promise!
Although final year is mostly about exams and essays, it’s also your final chance to get involved with society events. I’m currently the newsletter officer for the Glocal society and I’ve found that having something other than uni work to focus on gives me a break from actual hard work. Societies are always putting events and socials on too so you can use these as organised ways to take breaks from work and let off some steam!
I’ve heard a lot of mixed opinions about keeping a part-time job during final year studies, but personally I have found it to be a great way to focus on something other than uni work, and also earn some money to make sure I can treat myself when I feel like some comfort food! However, don’t take on too many hours or you could be feeling even more overwhelmed.
Just the word ‘dissertation’ used to make me shiver with fear, but after exploring what it actually means and finally breaking it down into manageable chunks, I’ve found that it’s a lot less scary than you might think. At first glance it seems like a horrendous amount of words on a topic you have to pull out of thin air, but once you’ve found a topic you’re passionate about I promise you’ll feel so much calmer (and even excited?) about writing up your project. Try to get ontop of your readings as soon as possible and spend a couple of days a week exploring your topic so you don’t forget your main focus.
Overall I’ve had an extremely successful few weeks of term and I really hope it continues throughout the term – fingers crossed anyway! But hopefully this post makes you feel a lot less stressed knowing that someone else is in exacrtly the same stressful boat as you are! Feel free to comment any of your own hints and tips for final year.