This is not your classic back to school article. Over the next week, most media outlets will post a guide for froshers or first- year students, but not Women’s Post. Today, I am writing for the seasoned student. Going to university is a big transition in any student’s or parent’s life. It is essential to be prepared when dealing with a completely new environment, but what happens when you’re almost at the end of the four years? Students often need that extra motivation and a slight push to survive the daunting final year of university. By my third year the stress and assignments were overwhelming, and I was already worrying about if I would survive the final semester. With looming dissertations and logging co-op hours, there are certain things you should be aware of if you want to successfully survive your final year of university.
Plan It Out
Remember those useful school agendas they give you at the beginning of the school year? It’s time to use it and schedule your life properly. If you are trying to manage an internship along wth your final projects or thesis, it is wise to manage your time. You should essentially have a to-do list planned for every day, so you know how to properly divide your time.
You know the ropes of the school and you should be familiar with all your professors and deadlines. Don’t become stressed; seek help or advice if you need it. If you need an assignment extension, most professors can be understanding once you put in the work. Their only goal is to mentor you to success.
It might sound difficult to do, but by fourth year you should be over the ‘all nighters.’ The better your sleep quality, the more mental clarity you will have to execute tasks. If you plan out your schedule you can hopefully avoid having to stay up too late doing work.
This is your final lap. It is your chance to close off the four years the way you want to. If you’re not used to working hard, it’s time to do so now. You should make sure all your credits are in order and maybe even have a chat with your advisor to ensure you are on the right path to be cleared for graduation. There is a fun game my friends and I used to play in university called ‘’what’s the minimum percentage I need in order to pass this class.’’ It’s not a fun game. However, there are moments that you may feel this way. Just push harder and spend those extra hours at the library if you need to. You should also balance this out with friends, have study groups or enjoy your study breaks reflecting on how you made it this far. These are the little moment you will miss.
In addition to working hard, many believe you should play hard as well. Don’t feel guilty about taking a night or two off. Have fun — you are in your prime and you won’t get these university moments back. So if your school is hosting the usual mid-semester gala or pub night, give yourself a break and have a fun night off. If you don’t want to party, indulge in other fun activities of your choosing. Yoga is always a fun break and a way to distress.
So this is the miserable and daunting part that you want to avoid. Talking about an uncertain future. I know i’m not the only one to bring it up. By fourth year, almost every stranger you meet is going to ask you what you have planned for the future. Is it grad school ? Do you have a job lined up ? The questions are relentless and frustrating. The obvious choice is to block it out, but you have to face this reality. If you’re thinking about graduate school, you should already be working on your application by the beginning of the final semester. If you need letters of recommendation from your professors, get on it because professors have deadlines too. As for the job hunting,the same applies. Get started as soon as you can but don’t give yourself unrealistic expectations. Many graduates don’t find a job they are happy with almost one year or more after graduation. Nothing can prepare you for the world outside of school.
It is vital to get as much experience you can through internships and volunteer work while you still have the “student” label. These connections can help you build bridges for future positions and connections. Many companies hire from a pool of school-based interns, so this can be a good way in. The experience will also go toward building your resume.
Worry is a waste of time and as the quote goes, “You can’t change yesterday, but you can ruin today by worrying about tomorrow.” These words are more powerful than you know and it would be a shame to spend your final year of university so worried and stressed out that you miss it entirely. In my final year of undergrad there were many sleepless nights filled with worry and tears, but I always tried to envision myself in my graduation gown , going up on stage to collect my degree. Guess what, it happened. The thing is by fourth year you’re burnt out and over it and you just want to be finished already. Just be patient, it’s going to take some time and it wont be easy. Don’t fill your final year with regret and stress. Instead have fun and enjoy the final moments. Laugh with your friends, explore your campus, network with your professors for future contact. It won’t hit you right away but when next September comes around and there is no back to school, you may be surprised how much you miss it.
Some of the best memories, moments, and friends can be made during your university years so enjoy it and cherish them.