Your third year at university can feel overwhelming before you’ve even begun. It is the year that counts the most, it is the year you need to begin thinking about future careers and it is also the end of an era. You deserve to have an amazing last year at university saying goodbye to clubs like ocean and pryzm (if you’re moving away) but it is also the year to get very well acquainted with the library as it is very likely that you will be spending a lot of time in there.
There are also the general university concerns still there, like what if I don’t get on with my housemates? Should I work as well as study? All of this is completely normal, and it is highly likely that the majority of university students are feeling the same as you. As a student going into third year myself, I also have these concerns.
Studying for third year
First things first, a key part of university is a degree and ensuring that you try your best in your third year to come out with a good grade is an absolute way of guaranteeing no regrets. Trying your best can mean you feel the pressure more, but you are not alone in this. There is an awareness amongst lecturers and other younger students of how important this year is – it counts the majority in your degree and will affect your overall grade. Even if you have been coming out with firsts in every module since you began at university, you have to ensure you maintain that level of study.
A considerable amount of third year worries seem to be geared towards writing a dissertation. Whilst this is an essential part of your degree, it is not the only part. There is a concern amongst lecturers that students focus too much on the dissertation, neglecting their other modules. For example, my dissertation is worth 40 credits, whereas I need to do 120 per year – meaning I have another 40 credits worth of modules to do. Therefore they are both equally important and I must find the time to do them both well – and not just focus on the dissertation for that all important Instagram snap.
What to do next
For some students, working towards university has been their main goal in life. When it is starting to come to an end, third year worries tend to centre around panic about what to do next. There are many options for what a university graduate can do. There are graduate schemes available and these are a highly popular choice, however they do tend to get snatched up quite quickly. They’re also generally a 2-year commitment, so you need to be certain. Then there is getting a job after you graduate which will relieve some of the pressure of third year, no worries about interviews or when you are going to start, however there is no guarantee that you will be able to get a job.
There is also the choice of beginning a Master’s. The post graduate qualification has become a more popular choice of late. It enables students to specialise further in an area of their choosing and can make you more employable in some cases. However, it is an extra year in academia. For some students this is simply a reason to delay making a decision and will also be more debt overall. There are other schemes such as teach first which helps students who want to be a teacher. This is beneficial if you definitely want to do that, but it is a commitment and a lot to think about during your third year.
General University concerns
General university concerns will always be there, but for third year, you will feel more certain of yourself. Having lived away from home for two previous years, you will have a better understanding of living with other people, compromising, and acknowledging your own mistakes. All of your university experience will make you a more well-rounded , confident person. However for third year, some of these concerns do need to fade into the background. Worrying about the lad who never called you back just means he was not worth your time. Quietly stewing because your housemate didn’t clean the bathroom isn’t worth worrying about. Third year worries tend to be a little more serious.
Working while studying is an issue I have addressed in previous articles, however for third year it carries more weight. I have already made a conscious decision to do fewer hours in third year. Working more has the potential to impact my level of study and the consequences are lower grades. This is not something I am willing to compromise on in third year. I am aware that some students are unable to not work but your third year is important. Ultimately, working one extra shift a week could mean the difference between a 2:1 and a First. It is all about priorities.
Finally, this is the end of an era, student life is unique and exciting. Friendships will be formed that could last a lifetime and you will have many great experiences that you may never have again. It is important to remember not just in third year but all through University. Third year worries shouldn’t be at the expense of wasting what little time you have left. Go get that degree but don’t deprive yourself of everything else around you to do so. It is important to work hard but it is equally important to enjoy yourself. So, going into third year, my plan is still to have the cocktail sessions with my girlfriends and have movie night or face mask night but also to work hard. To ensure that ultimately I am proud of my own achievements.