8 tips for surviving your final year of uni
Your final year of uni won’t kill you. But it might feel that way some times. Yes, the dissertation is tough, yes, you will lose your social life, yes, it’s scary that the end of education is getting closer BUT it’s also a period of time in which you can really enjoy your projects and studies, knowing it’s the last stretch. Plus, there is a definite light at the end of the tunnel – graduate life isn’t all bad!
Here are our top tips on how to make the most of your final year of uni:
- Get to know your library
- Make to do lists
- Ask for help
- Work hard, play harder
- Get some sleep
- Eat well
- Don't worry about next year
- Keep everything in perspective!
Read on for more detail on each of these.
1. Get to know your library
This doesn’t simply mean work out how to use the Dewy Decimal System (I really hope you already know it or there might be no hope). Getting to know your library means finding out where the best seats are, where the most likely spot for a socket is and where the warmest areas are for those long winter days. Trial a couple of different spots, so that if you get sick of one place, you know you have a back-up. You’re going to be spending a lot of time in this place, so make sure you are comfortable. And if you find your concentration waning, sometimes changing location can really help! Have a look on some department websites and see if their libraries are open to all students – this also stops you bumping into friends from your subject and spending 80% of the day getting coffee.
2. To do lists
There is going to be a lot to remember in final year. Differentiating between essays and exam revision can get confusing and overwhelming. Enter the to do list: your best friend in organisation and staying on top of everything that really, really needs to get done. Checking off every little thing (make it as detailed as: ‘write first paragraph of essay’) will give you a mental boost as you realise the pile of work is decreasing bit by bit. You can also use a planner with built in to do lists or make a bullet journal (great for releasing creative energy!) On Sunday evening, allocate an hour or two to sit down and write out all the tasks you need to do that week, and any seminars or lectures. This will help you start the week feeling organised and prepared.
3. Ask for help
No student is an island, right? As everyone around you discusses their ridiculously complicated dissertation topic you can feel a bit like you are the only one struggling at 500 words in. If the pressure is getting too much then talk it out, either with friends or with tutors. Just get some grounded advice from somewhere, even if simply from your mum. If you’re finding it hard to get out of a stressful mindset, make sure you’re giving yourself time to wind down. Maybe aim to cook dinner with your housemates once a week so you can all vent your stresses together, and remember that you're all in the same boat!
4. Work hard, play harder
Ok, maybe ‘harder’ is an exaggeration, but this is your last year at uni. Enjoy nights out as they come up and let off some steam. Don’t think you can’t have fun, just because you need to finish off an essay. Everyone is allowed a night off, so man up and do it on a hangover. If you’re going out less overall, you’ll find that you really appreciate that much-needed dance to September when it finally arrives.
5. Get some sleep
Messed up sleep patterns seem to be a staple of university life but it’s a really good idea to sort yours out before final year. It can be tempting to work through the night, high on Pro-Plus and jittery from sugar. This might be understandable the night before your dissertation is due, however don’t let this be a regular occurrence or the quality of your work will surely suffer. If you can’t sleep for some reason, try some relaxing meditation, sniff some lavender oil and PUT. YOUR. PHONE. AWAY.
6. Stock up on supplies
Choose your snacks wisely. A healthy diet will do amazing things for your final year, as it boosts brain function and keeps you focused. On the other hand, chocolate will give you a high and a crash, resulting in fits of laughter and then tears. Keep it steady and only reach for the sugar during emergencies.
7. Stop worrying so much about next year
Sometimes the most stressful part of final year is not even to do with exams: sitting around listening to friends talk about their job applications can be really tough. The interview process for top graduate schemes is intense and adds a lot of pressure to an already pretty full-on year, so why not just focus on your studies and then give BrighterBox a call when you graduate? That way, you’ll know you have something in the pipeline, but without having to compromise on your work and time!
8. Keep everything in perspective
Final year can feel like the be all and end all. Everyone wants to do their best, but it’s also essential that you don’t lose sight of what’s really important. Enjoy your last few months at uni, enjoy your research projects, enjoy living with friends – these are all precious things you should savour while you can, before you leave forever.
If you found this helpful, check out our comprehensive guide on how to get a graduate job!
Finished your final year and want to get on the graduate job hunt? Have a look at the opportunities on the BrighterBox jobs page if you're interesting in working in startups!