Being in your last year at university is scary for many reasons. I’ve always had the plan that I was going to get my a levels, then get my degree and then… well my plan didn’t reach that far! I feel like I thought I was peter pan and university would never end. Sadly, now I’m realising that it is going to end! I have had so many questions in my final year, so I’ve written my three biggest, terrifying questions below and an answer to overcoming my fear of them!
What am I going to do when I finish?
This is the biggest fear for any finalist that doesn’t know what their next step is. I hoped that during my degree something would come to me. One day I would wake up and figure out what I want to do with my life, but with 4 months until I graduate I still haven’t had that moment! It scares me a lot that I don’t have a plan.
How To overcome this: Start being proactive about figuring out what it is you’re going to do next! Even if it is eliminating options; it’s all about baby steps! Go to the postgraduate talks and open days, start looking for graduate schemes, internships and go talk to the careers centre!
I have applied for a number of graduate schemes and internships. Every couple of weeks I am on the employability and careers page looking at any jobs that might be for me and checking the local job page.
The Dreaded Dissertation
Below is an accurate representation of any 3rd year and postgraduate student when you say the word ‘dissertation’.
The thing about your dissertation is that no one ever really tells you anything about it until the end of 2nd year. You just hear the word ‘dissertation’ and want to go habituate in your bed and pretend like it doesn’t exist. What scares me about my dissertation is it is worth 15% of my overall degree. That is a lot for one bit of coursework… and I have always been better at exams!
How to overcome this: Start as early as you can! You are in charge of your dissertation. You are the one that needs to message your supervisor and set up when to meet up. The early you do this, the more time you are going to have and the less stressed you will be.
Will I actually get the degree class I want?
I started university knowing I wanted a to get a good degree class. I’ve always said I’d be happy with a 2:1. I don’t see the point of paying all the money to go the university without the goal of wanting a good degree! But with the work load I have had during my final year, I have had a lot of self doubt about whether I can achieve this! Not only do I have the dissertation, I also have lecture note taking, MCQs, essays and my final exams. I know that a lot of people fear they are not going to get the degree class that they want!
How to overcome this: All you can do is try to be as organised as you can. Plan your time wisely and don’t waste it! Get some sort of diary or planner so that you know when all your deadlines are. Also don’t take on too much. Although it is nice to have money, I have to keep turning down overtime at work, because I just don’t have the time to be working extra hours when I could be studying.
Being a finalist is scary but it is also exciting. Once exams are over in June I am about to start the next chapter of my life whatever that may be. Enjoy being a student while it lasts, but remember that this could be the start of something amazing!