Survive your final year of uni with these top tips.
If you're heading into final year and feel a bit apprehensive about what's to come, here's some tips that will hopefully make your last year as an undergraduate smooth sailing.
1. Make sure you know all the important dates
If you thought there were a lot of deadlines in second year, you're in for a real treat this year. You'll be used to having coursework and exam dates to remember, but add on deadlines for all 50 drafts of your dissertation and grad scheme application dates, then you'll need to be organised.
Have all these dates in your diary from the start of the year, so you don't end up in a position where a deadline has crept up on you that you had no idea about. Also, if you know what's coming you can plan accordingly, and perhaps avoid organising a lads holiday the week before all your coursework is due.
2. Make the most of the resources you've got
There's a bunch of resources available at universities to help kick-start your job search. Your personal tutor can provide industry advice, give you a reference and help with your CV, or you could use your uni's career service; they often offer interview practice or CV workshops. If you've not yet taken advantage of the services available, make the most of your £9k and do so before you graduate.
You won't be left completely in the lurch once you've graduated though - most universities offer services to alumni for a couple of years after graduation.
3. Grad schemes open sooner than you think - make sure you're prepared for them
If you want to bag a graduate scheme, you need to be proactive about it. A lot of grad schemes open as soon as the academic year begins, if not soon after, so keep an eye out for them. Have a think about what schemes or industries might interest you beforehand too, so you can hit the ground running once applications open.
If you want more information about when to start applying for graduate jobs, schemes and internships, everything you need to know is right here. And if you sign up to GradTouch, we'll send you tailored alerts when jobs that might interest you become live.
4. Keep an eye on your bank account
If there's one thing that unites all graduates, it's debt. And unfortunately, whilst it's easy to push the idea of paying back your overdraft and student loans to the back of your mind until graduation, why not cushion the blow by keeping an eye on your spending this year?
That doesn't have to mean saying no to social events, but next time your housemates suggest you all chip in for a communal ice cream machine, perhaps say no. Budgeting is good practice too, for when you enter the real world. Of course, if you bag yourself a high paying job straight out of uni, then spend all you like.
5. Don't give up
There's no doubt about it, final year is an uphill battle that you'll feel like is never going to end. And although it can be disheartening if you get a piece of work back that you haven't done as well on as you'd hoped, or you feel like that 2:1 or 1st is slipping away, don't give up. If you do, you'll only look back and wish you tried a bit harder - make sure the graft you've put in up until now isn't put to waste.
6. But make sure to give yourself a break
It's important to give it your all and stay focused, but sacrificing your mental health for the sake of a grade just isn't worth it. Step away from the laptop and give yourself a break if you're burning out. Allowing yourself some time to recalibrate, instead of pushing on, will almost certainly improve the quality of your work and productivity levels too.
Don't forget that there are services in place at your uni too, if you need some extra help or someone to talk to.
7. And try not to wish the year away
When you've spent 12 consecutive days in the library and haven't eat anything nutritious in weeks, you probably can't wait for it to all be over. But remember to have some fun in between the hard work and try not to wish the time away. Your days at university are some of the best of your life, and it's true that once it's over you'll wish you could go back. So let your hair down and enjoy every second because you once it's over, it's over.
8. Remember that you don't need your whole life planned out right now
Maybe you'll spend all year panicking about what you're going to do with your career, or perhaps life after uni won't even cross your mind until you've graduated. Either way, try not to get hung up about not having your whole life planned out, because there's plenty of time for that.
Your twenties are all about trial and error, so there's time to find your feet and work out the right career for you. If you need some advice on how to avoid having an existential crisis come graduation, you can find our top tips here.