Spoken as a final year student myself, it is stressful, with graduation right round the corner and deadlines mounting left right and centre, it can seem impossible to upkeep your studies, social life, work and get enough sleep. But fear not, it can be done – all it takes is a little organisation.
Here are some of my tips for staying sane and keeping organised in your final year – and (so far) they seem to be working!
Start your dissertation early
You’ve heard the horror stories of dissertations, but really, it’s not so daunting as long as you start it early. I started my literature review and had it finished before Christmas and am in the final week of gathering all of my primary research already – 2 milestones down, not many left to go! Getting started on it early means your other assignments don’t suffer at the hands of your diss consuming all of your study time.
Make sure your work life is working for you
One of the best things I did in final year was get a paid internship doing exactly what I want a career in as a post grad. Not only that but I ditched my depressing part time job to focus wholly on my studies and my future and thus a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. By all means, if you need to work for money to live off then you should, but also remember that ultimately your studies and more important and it’s worth seeking out a job in the field you study – if you can paid for it like I do it’s literally a dream. Also remember to find a balance, our lecturers don’t recommend working more than 8 hours a work in third year – make sure you don’t overdo it.
Don’t neglect your social life
It might seem like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, but there’s no better way to relieve that than to spend time with your friends, families, partners etc. Remember that this could very well be your last year at University and do you really want to look back on it and realise you spent every night at the library? Find a balance that works for you and you’ll feel much less stressed.
…and don’t neglect yourself
After pulling an all nighter in the library you may feel like sleeping for the next 2 days, but be mindful of keeping in a routine. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and at the right times. Also, remember to look after yourself – have a day off, treat yourself and don’t let final year pressures consume you.
If you get organised early you’ll be able to work out some deadlines and goals which will ultimately reduce your end work goal and avoid those 3-day-straight library visits in the final days leading up to your hand in dates. Make use of your noticeboards, walls or even phones and put together calendars, to do lists and timetables – I promise you in the long haul you won’t regret it!
Speaking from semester 1, one of the best things I did was to start my work early. I’d go home after lectures and write up bits of my assignment that were relevant from what I’d just learned. An extra hour here and there really pays off as deadlines approach.
Ultimately, the end goal is to graduate, but setting goals along the way can really help motivate you and keep you organised. Think about what you really want from your studies and work towards it. Also, more often than not when you reach a goal you usually owe yourself a reward – let that motivate you.