How To | Survive Your Third Year Of University

I'm not the perfect student, never have been never will be, but I've made it this far and I like to think I'll survive until July when I've handed in my dissertation and this all over, haha! I actually wrote a similar post to this back in October called How To Survive University where I gave some more general tips for surviving university whatever year you're in but now that it's February and my dissertation deadline is looming (as it probably is for a lot of other third year students out there!) I thought I would give you some more university tips that are more appropriate for third year students and for anyone writing their dissertation. Because let's e honestly, no one prepared me for third year! I'm sure if you're in the same boat as me at the moment ( boat has a huge hole in it and I am slowly sinking into a sea of deadlines and responsibilities, haha!) and are feeling the pressures of third year you probably could do with a few tips to help you survive or at least make you feel like you've got your life together a bit, haha! So hopefully you find these helpful and feel free to share your own tips in the comments below... I need all the help I can get at this stage! Ooh, also I'm in the middle of writing a huge post at the moment for a big reflection of my three years at university experience, so if you're interested in reading all about everything from assignments, to anxiety to my lack of social life definitely pop back and have a read of that one - I'm thinking of publishing it at some point in April once my dissertation has been handed in, so get excited! 

PRIORITISE // I've found that third year assignments are so much more stressful, because not only are the questions and grade boundaries so much harder but also you're expected to be fully independent at this stage and your lecturers hardly give you any advice or guidance at all... which I am so not ready for, haha! I still need someone to give me a full on step by step plan for me to be able to feel like I know what I'm doing so every assignment takes me so much longer to plan and write and proof read! Not only that but you're also expected to be working on your dissertation 24/7 too! This means that I really need to prioritise my time in order to hit those deadlines and get work in on time. Yes, annoyingly this does mean you have to kind of let your social life go a little bit.. not too much, like don't turn into a complete hermit and never leave your room but I mean you're not a fresher anymore so you don't have to go out every single week! This is also true for other commitments too, if you have a part time job I definitely recommend cutting down your hours especially once the dissertation deadline starts looming - yes, this might annoy your employer (I know it did mine!) but this is about your future and in order to hit those good grades you need to be focused on your uni work! 

BUT DON'T STOP YOURSELF FROM HAVING THAT UNI EXPERIENCE // So whilst making sure to prioritise and hit those deadlines it's also so important to live your uni experience and have fun at the same time! Celebrate finally completing and handing in that awful assignment by going out with friends and having a few drinks - after all, that's what uni is all about right! So definitely give yourself time to take a break and enjoy yourself.. it's the only way to stay sane in third year, haha! It also works as great motivation for getting work done if you tell yourself you get to go out once your work has been handed in.. woo, self bribery!

SET UP A GOOD WORK SPACE // I'm not going to sit here and say you need to spend every single day in the library and you really shouldn't do uni work from home because there's too many distractions and blah blah blah... because I know that working in the library doesn't work for everyone - it doesn't work for me either, personally I'd much rather work from the comfort of my house rather than be worried about being judged by every single person in the library. (yay, anxiety!) But wherever you work from, be it the library or your bedroom be sure to set up a good work space, organised and free from distractions. I normally like to write assignments under a blanket on my sofa just because that's where I'm most comfortable. I set up all my notes on my coffee table and close any distracting tabs (and fight the urge to open them again!) I sit down all ready with a cup of coffee and get writing! Also, when it comes to distractions, I've found that if I allow myself to go back to things like Netflix and YouTube after a certain amount of time spent working or a certain amount of words written this means I'm less likely to just go back over to these distractions after I get bored of working.

SET TARGETS! // When it comes to writing my dissertation one thing that I wish I had done right from the beginning is set targets! Because your dissertation doesn't have any strict deadlines (just the final deadline) and the fact that you really can't leave this to the last minute it's so important to set yourself personal deadlines in order to get the work done in time! The thing that I have found helps me and many of my friends is to set word count targets for certain dates.. so for example getting 5,000 words done by February 20th - and you can set yourself these targets based around your other deadlines too, so if you know you've got 3 deadlines in March you might set your target slightly lower as you'll probably be more focused on those than your dissertation. This is also a great way of using your dissertation tutor to your full advantage, haha! If you know that you'll be too lenient with yourself and these targets maybe share them with your dissertation tutor so that on those mini deadline dates they're expecting an email from you with your work so far. 

TO-DO LISTS ARE YOUR BEST FRIEND // I don't know where I would be without my to-do list honestly and I'm pretty sure this is true for many third year students! Not only do you have to tackle your dissertation, you also have many other deadlines, potentially a job to juggle and maybe another hobby like blogging... that's a lot on your plate and a lot of dates and deadlines to think about so you see where a to-do list comes in super handy, right?! It doesn't even have to be anything super fancy either, I literally just use the notes app on my phone. As things to-do pop up I open up my notes app and add new things to it, I have it set out as a weekday with Monday, Tuesday etc.. and next to each day is the things I need to do that day. I have so much on there from write ___ assignment to, find references for dissertation to, go to the cinema and when I complete something I get the satisfaction of ticking it off, which is such a good feeling! I just find this is such a good way of planning out my week and getting stuff done, so I could not recommend to-do lists more, just find your own personal way of doing it that works for you and you're a winner! 

PLAN FOR THE FUTURE // I know 'future' is a bit of a scary word for most third year students.. it definitely is for me! Now that it's February I'm trying my best to forget the fact that we literally graduate in July and we won't have this safety net of uni to fall back on when times get tough! As much as it's scary and we don't want to think about it it's so important to have somewhat of a plan for the future and what you want to do after university. Whether you're thinking about going into full time work or applying for another course (because as much as we say we're bored of education we never ever want to leave and be a proper adult, haha!) now is the time to start thinking about this if you haven't already and actually start applying for things or writing a CV. I know it can be really daunting but your university is there to help you, so if you ever feel a bit lost or confused about what to do next go and talk to a lecturer or someone who can support you at uni and I'm sure they will either give you advice or point you in the right direction - you don't have to feel like you're on your own! 

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