University

How to prepare for your final year of university

college, study, stick-it notes, highlighters, tape, notes

So, you’ve somehow managed to stumble through your first two years of university life, and made it out on the other side. Congrats! But, there’s one huge hurdle that you’ve still got to jump. The final year.

Yes, you’ve handled the deadline drama before, and you’re sure you can make it through one more freshers week, but there’s one torturous battle that you have not yet faced – Dissertation. That obscenity and many others, however, is what we’re here for.

To help you prepare for your final year of university, here are The Growing Up Guide’s top tips to survive:

Prepare to plan

Yes, we all say we’ll get a head start on something, but in reality, it rarely happens, does it? As hard as it is, final year is the time to finally kick your procrastinating self into work.

In terms of your dissertation, contact your supervisor early; and by this, we mean before final year even starts. This way they may be able to advise you to get some specific reading done before the planning starts (especially in terms of your literature review).

Moreover, as soon as freshers has finished, ensure you email your supervisor early to set up a one-to-one meeting. At the end of the day, it never killed anyone to be prepared.

Use all resources available

We cannot stress this point enough. Make use of the resources that are on offer. More often than not, students will go out of their way and spend big money on textbooks that they don’t necessarily need to.

Your university library will have thousands of books, e-books, journals, and online articles for you to make use of. And, if that’s not enough, a lot of universities also offer inter-library loans, whereby they will order any resource that you desire at no extra cost.

In addition to this, make sure you also check out and meet your subject librarian. It’s vital to remember that many of these people actually have a degree in what you’re studying; so when you’re struggling with an assignment, these may be a good point of call.

However, (disclaimer) appointments do go quickly, especially during deadline period, so ensure you get a meeting booked as soon as possible.

One extra tip that we also advise: remember you’re not limited to your university’s library, you can also explore local libraries and other university libraries too!

Don’t study hard, study smart

If you haven’t developed it already, one key skill that you’ll have to nail in your final year is time management. With a bundle of essays, exams, presentations, and a dissertation thrown into the mix, it’s important that you set goals* for yourself as opposed to random cramming sessions.

Find out when, and where you work best, and designate that time to specific assignments and tasks, ensuring you give yourself a small break every hour. Obviously, try not to get distracted my social media. Sometimes it’s best to just leave your phone off the table!

This way you won’t be that housemate that disappears to their room during deadline period, only to emerge with average grades anyway. Instead, you’ll be able to work effectively and efficiently, whilst still reaping the benefits of indulging in your social life.

*it’s important to set these goals realistically; no one is going to write an amazing essay within a day!

Life after university

So, Ben wants to be a town planner. Cool. Katie’s trying to find a job in marketing. Awesome. Chloe’s already secured an internship in Leeds. Good for her. Whether you know exactly what you want to do after uni or not, it’s nothing to worry about.

Some people have known what they wanted in a career since they were 13. That’s fine. Others are 23 and still don’t know what to do with their degree. And that’s fine too.

Stressing about it during your final year is only going to add pressure to your plate. Not everybody has a path carved out for them, and it’s ok to experience a little of everything before you decide on one career.

However, make sure to use your university’s career and advice centre if the idea of life after university is beginning to take a toll on you.


Don’t be afraid to ask for help

This final tip is one of the most important for your final year.

Asking for help does not mean you are weak. Asking for help does not mean you are stupid. Asking for help does not mean that you do not deserve your degree.

Everybody gets stuck at some point. If they don’t, then consider them a cyborg. Some people deal with mind blanks better than others. But, by no means, should you feel ashamed in any way for asking for help with your work.

That’s what your tutors, lecturers, and librarians are paid to do. Teach. You are not pestering anyone. In the end, think of yourself, be selfish, because it is your grade that matters the most.

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