Third-year is a busy hectic time and now it’s reached February it has suddenly become a reality that you only have a few months left of university. This can feel overwhelming, suddenly you need to really buckle down and do work but simultaneously you want to enjoy your last few months of freedom. However, you are not alone in this and I want to show you the best way of staying organised in the third year, so you enjoy yourself but also work hard.
Decide what is important to you. For some people, leaving university with a first is everything to them and without it there was no point in even going, however for others, you are happy with a 2.1 and a few extra curriculars. Either way is valid but hate to break the bad news to you, but you can’t be both unless you’re a superhero in which case this article probably isn’t for you.
I don’t like to assume about people but due to my own experiences of university as well as seeing friends graduate before me and knowing students in the year below me, I feel like I have a fairly well-rounded viewpoint. So, I will discuss today the best ways of staying organised so you can have your best third year whether that is getting a first or going out. There are no right or wrong ways and some people will be different and able to do everything. However, you may have to accept that you are not one of those people and decide what is actually important to you.
Getting those top marks
Ultimately we do come to university to get a degree, we have all paid that £9’250 per year for the lectures, the library access, the teaching staff so it should not come as a shock when I say working hard is an aspect of university life. Some of us were able to skate by at GCSE with minimal revision and still get A’s (or whatever the grading system is now, 9?). There’s no judgment if that was you but it does shake you up a bit when you get your first marks back at university and they are not quite as high as you were expecting. This is because it is a whole new ball game now. Hopefully by the time you are in third year you will be very aware of this and be putting the effort in.
However, putting the effort in is simply not enough at university, you need to go above and beyond what you would normally do, particularly in third year. This is where staying organised comes in. Get a diary. I can’t emphasise this enough, particularly to those of you who insist you can remember everything. YOU ARE WRONG. Write it down and keep track of the deadlines. I’m afraid you are only human, and things will slip through the cracks, particularly if you are tired on one day or just forget (which everyone does now and again).
When you get this diary, it depends how far you want to take it but writing down your deadlines is only the beginning, I have a diary, a day to do planner and a calendar. This may sound excessive to those of you who don’t like writing things down but since having these my productivity has increased. I write down on the morning what I need to do that day even if it’s just read article for tomorrow or wash bedding. This ensures I do it and things don’t slip through the cracks. This won’t guarantee you a first, but it won’t harm your chances either. Staying organised is the best way to succeed at anything.
Taking a step back
Going to university is about the degree, however I do not feel like I will have had a good experience if I come out of university just with a degree. Don’t be that person (even Viv in sex education realised she needed friends). Holing yourself up in the library all day not talking to anyone won’t help you be productive and won’t do your mental health any good. At university the easiest way to make friends is through people on your course or the people you live with however I presume by third year you already have this figured out.
The balance between getting that degree but still enjoying yourself is all about setting yourself limits. Maybe in first year you could have gone out every night of the week and still got up all happy and awake for your parents brunch Saturday at 10am however third year you just can’t and those of you still trying to do that need to stop.
I find that most nights out in third year do die off a bit anyway, however you will need to limit yourself. Drinking too much will dehydrate you and if you mix, well you’ll be very ill the next day. In order to limit this so the next day you are able to do work and be productive, the best bet is don’t do it so often. I’m not saying you have to be strict about it, but rather than carrying on drinking when everyone else is, maybe set yourself a budget. For example, you’ll only set yourself £20 and once you’ve spent that you’re done, or you’ll stop drinking after midnight to limit the hangover. It may sound a bit boring, but your brain and your body will thank you. By staying organised even with your nights out your university experience can be fulfilling and productive.