University: Final Year Thoughts

This post has been sitting in my drafts since February time. It took me until February to start writing as that was just how long it took me to get used to final year, get used to the pace of work, content, lectures, get used to being a student again. Whilst it’s possible it took me that long due to coming back from placement year, I personally found the step up to final year a huge jump.
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It’s Harder Than You Expect

Just under a year ago, I was preparing to start final year. I was coming to the end of my placement year and was preparing to move into my last ever student house. I had heard that final year was tough – I just didn’t believe it. I thought I’d be fine. I’d always been clever, I’d always got ‘good’ results despite being disappointed in my second year. I kept telling myself it would all work out. But then it happened. Final year. The work came in, and plans for blogging daily, for days out, for enjoying my last few months of university, they all went down the pan. Scrapped in favour of long days (and nights) of stress. Swapped for hours in the library.

For me, the difficulty of the content was a big jump up from second year. I found the workload, strangely (and I’m pretty sure I’m one of the only ones!) lighter and far easier to cope with, but I did find the actual material more taxing. There was less immediate understanding, more work to be done on going over concepts. There was one module in particular I was dreading, as I’d really, really struggled with the first part during second year – so I spent a whole week at Christmas going over the previous module and working a little ahead. That strategy definitely worked for me, and I’m so glad I put in that extra effort.

It’s Worth It When The Results Come In

Oh, how it’s worth it. When I found out my degree classification (in the middle of a car park), I cried, I hyperventilated, I had to have help to buckle my seatbelt upon leaving. Knowing that those sleepless nights, the long hours in the library, all the stress, that it had all paid off – it was such an amazing, amazing feeling. Well worth it!

Finding A Job Takes Longer Than You’d Think

Again, this was an area I’d looked at through rose-tinted glasses. Don’t get me wrong, I knew it would be easy to get a job. But I knew I was well practised at interviews, I’d got a years experience, I’d got good grades. I was clearly good at the applications, attending no less than five final stages. Gaining five rejections. All for different reasons, some rather silly reasons. But it was unexpected, especially as with each interview I felt like this was ‘THE’ job, the one for me.

There were a lot of tears when those rejection phone calls came in, including a night of crying, an hours sleep, and going for a run at 6am as I needed to do something, anything, to get my mind off it.

But it did all work out. I did get a job, a job that actually blows the others out of the water in terms of what I wanted. I actually ended up with two job offers (not an ideal scenario when you’re in the middle of your busiest exam week!). What I would recommend is before final year even starts, take a look at jobs you’d like and application deadlines. I’m super glad I did this, as a lot of my deadlines to apply where November-time, with some even closing after just a few days in September. Be prepared!

Likewise, Finding A Graduation Dress Takes Forever

Ah, the graduation dress shop. In some ways I’m super thankful I started this early, in some ways its a curse as I knew I couldn’t put an ounce of weight on in the weeks preceding graduation.

I know some people who are still looking for a graduation dress, just a few days before the event. I know people who have ordered 10+ dresses online, to try on at home (this was going to be my plan, but I only ever found one potential!). I know people who have spent a fortune, people scouring charity shops, even someone whose mum is making theirs. My advice? Start looking early (it’s great for study breaks!), shop in more unusual places (mine is from Next, a place I wouldn’t usual look in), consider the colour of your gown/mortar board and don’t have too small a budget (I didn’t want to spend over £75, ended up coming in under at £55 though the damn thing is now half price!).
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You Use A LOT of Stationary

Seriously – so, so much of the stuff. Far more than in other years and I still haven’t really figured out why! I was a regular in Rymans picking up get another bag full of narrow-ruled paper, I even depleted mutliple BIC biros. I remember just a few days before my final exam, looking in my paper and seeing only half a refill pad. I finished university with two sheets of paper spare – result!

It’s A Time To Push Boundaries

I really feel that, out of all my years at university, it was final year which made me grow up more. I learnt a lot about myself in that year, I pushed myself to do more, to do better, all the time. Be it challenging myself to bake bread, or a new recipe each fortnight, or improving coursework marks with each submission. I even pushed myself to give a talk to over 200 prospective students and their parents – scary stuff.
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Say Goodbye to Nights Out. Say Hi to Nights In

Admittedly, I’ve never been a person for going out-out. I love nothing more than a couple of glasses of wine, a couple of bottles of good cider, perhaps a few nibbles, in a pub. What I don’t like is music too loud to hear the person next to you, sticky floors and feeling anything more than tipsy. However some of my absolute favourite nights throughout university have been during final year, and involved good healthy snacks (try my Banana Nutella Microwave Mug Cake) and a whole lot of giggles.

The best night? Probably the night of the Great British Bake Off final. Myself and a housemate ate so much baked goods we had to go for a lie-down by 9pm…
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This was the thing I worried about throughout my final year. With going on placement, visiting W, living in London last summer, it all transpired that I hadn’t been at home for longer than 6 days in 2 years. I was worried I wouldn’t have a job, and that I’d be stuck at home for the foreseeable future. It goes without saying that I love my family, I had an extremely good relationship with them and I do love being at home (hello dippy eggs, decent Sunday roasts and dad’s baking!) – but I didn’t want to lose my independence. After a slight paddy over my mum putting my clothes away for me, I’m just about used to it again. Though I can’t say I’m not looking forward to moving to London at the end of summer…

What tips do you have for getting through the final year of university? How did you find your final year?