- Language, Culture & Communication / Applied Linguistics
- Modern Languages
- Part-Time Work
Struggling to Keep Up
Personally, this year has been particularly tough for me. Perhaps I became lazy over my year abroad and am no longer used to the academic demands of my degree. Perhaps final year really is the most difficult one of them all. Or perhaps the pandemic is truly taking its toll on me. Regardless of the reason, I’ve really been struggling to relax this year; constantly feeling stressed out and overworked. From the beginning of this first term back at university, I have been working almost solidly. No days off, hardly any breaks. I work from the minute I wake up until the minute I go to sleep. And this is just to stay on top of my work, let alone getting ahead on the further reading!
Due to the pandemic, assessment requirements have changed and so more of my final grade depends on assignments throughout the year. This is something that I always thought I would have a preference for. Yet, now that it is reality, I realise how wrong I was. The problem with this style of grading is that I have to work hard all year, which, although should be expected, is simply unreasonable. The time and effort that is required of me to achieve a high mark in a single piece of work is too difficult to maintain each week, for numerous different assignments, and on top of my regular seminar work. Equally, there are higher expectations for these pieces of work, seeing as we had a week to complete it and unlimited resources. It’s almost impossible to achieve a good grade without sacking off all your other work.
On top of the stress of my course, like many other final years, I have been applying to jobs. Except, I wasn’t applying to jobs, I was applying to summer internships. Usually, summer internships are reserved for those in their intermediate year, and I was lucky enough to have done one last summer. However, having not received the grad role, I took it upon myself to start reapplying. Realistically, I should be applying to grad schemes, but with competition for these roles already so high, I opted to reapply for summer internships and hope that this could be my way in. And you would think that with a summer internship already under my belt, the task at hand would be easy. Wrong. After having applied to 20+ firms, submitted personalised cover letters for each, and completed video interviews for the majority, I am yet to receive an offer. Of course, the fact that I was even applying to roles is a good sign, and definitely puts me ahead of a lot of my cohort. But, the amount of rejections that I have now received and the fear of what I will do following my graduation is enough to stress anyone out.
I was so looking forward to receiving an offer, putting aside the worry of a career and focusing solely on my academic work this Christmas. However, now I feel more stressed than ever, knowing that I have to battle with academic pressures as well as having to rethink my future. Do I keep reapplying to summer internships? Do I try my luck with a grad programme? Do I apply to a Masters Programme? Do I take a gap year? Although in a lot of ways, the realisation that the future is not certain worries me deeply. It is also, however, a turning point for me that has opened a lot of doors.
I think keeping a positive and optimistic mind-set is really what keeps me going during term times: the thought that something good will come out of everything that I do, in one way or another. Each rejection or bad grade is simply practice and motivation for the real thing. Although I am sure that we are all struggling in our own ways this year, we do have the strength to continue and succeed!