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A Guide to Surviving Final Year

As a survivor of final year (finished on the 9th of May) I feel I have some knowledge to impart (LOL) on surviving the pinnacle of your university studies.

For me personally, I can hand on heart say that my final year was the most difficult year of my degree. Not because the material itself was difficult, (it was sometimes) it was the sheer amount of work I was faced with, and within a short time period. Within a few weeks of starting back at university, I had a couple of essays due, my dissertation data analysis pending, my dissertation write up to do, along with all the other expected things that come with uni e.g. attending lectures 😉

The thing I felt was the most help to me in my final year was……keeping on top of my work.

As much as I was able, I tried not to leave work to the last minute. This is inevitable once in a while, but if this happens with every assignment hand in, something is wrong (in my opinion anyway). Starting work earlier meant I had the luxury of time to read around my subject to a decent amount of depth and get help if and when I needed it.

Another really helpful thing is speaking to people in the year above you. It’s a great way to get an idea of what to expect, things you will have to do and submit. It’s a little bit like a cheat sheet for you next year (only a little, 😉) Its also a good idea to bounce ideas off people on your course. They may just know something you don’t, and you know what they say … no man is an island.

Stay away from caffeine loaded energy drinks (eg relentless, red bull etc) and limit all-nighters. Caffeine loaded energy drinks are not the one. Agreed they can keep you awake, but they leave you with an awful edge/buzz afterwards. All-nighters sometimes are necessary. In my personal experience, I found them good sometimes but most times my brain was only engaged for so long and I would have probably got more done if I had just gone to bed earlier and come back in the morning. Back to back all-nighters are not much help either. I found when I did them, my productivity went down with every additional night I did an all-nighter – which makes them pointless then.

Red Bull?

Have fun – go out and do whatever you enjoy , it makes everything just that little bit easier.

Don’t live on takeaways (which means you can have them SOMETIMES) otherwise you may end up with a face looking like a dot to dot sheet, and you’ll just end up feeling crappy.

Make sure you save you work and back it up at REGULAR intervals, especially things like your dissertation. Someone always manages to lose their work for various reasons. Regular saving of work to various different places will help to ensure that person is not you. When I was writing my dissertation, I had it saved on my laptop, my USB drive, my hard drive and I emailed it to myself several times as well. Losing several months of work was really not an option.

Most importantly, have something to keep you sane, when it all gets a little bit too much. This year, hand on heart I can say God kept me sane. Times when I felt I couldn’t carry on, God gave me peace that made no sense. When I had only a few days to prepare for major exams, God helped me to push myself and loads of other little things that helped me to finish.

And that’s my list; I think I’ve included everything. Did you find anything in particular helped you during your study?


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