As I began my third and final year at university, there were a number of things that suddenly struck me.
First, How could I be in my last year of university already? It seemed like just yesterday I was waving to my parents as their car drove out of Endcliffe, sat in the kitchen awkwardly trying to make small talk with my flat mates, struggling to work out the washing machine and realising that I was going to cook pasta for the rest of my life.
My time at university like many others has gone exceedingly fast and before you know it, you are sat in careers session after careers session learning about how to write the perfect CV and how to succeed in interviews. This is the second thing that dawned on me: this time next year I will be doing a masters or working for a real company in the real life world. Scary!
Finally, the way third year is taught is so different to the first two years of university. First year for many students doesn’t count and is merely a way of helping you settle in and get used to how different university is compared to secondary school. Although second year is slightly tougher, you are still spoon-fed most of the information in lectures and seminars.
Third year is completely different however. In my subject and many others, you get to do a 12,000-word dissertation on any topic you want as long as it relates to the course you do. This is the biggest thing about third year that I feel scared about, 12,000 words on a topic of my choice? And I have to go out there and find all the articles and reading myself? Gross!
Therefore, there are a number of things that I would say to first and second years who will no doubt feel what I feel when they move into third year.
Firstly, cherish every moment of university, join as many societies or sports teams as you can, make friends, get involved and invest in a cookery book!
Secondly, don’t ignore all those emails you get from the Careers Service. Most of them are extremely useful, I had no clue employers came onto campus to do workshops and run skills sessions, nor did I know anything about the Sheffield Graduate Award, HEAR, the Skills for Work scheme or anything particularly useful that will help me get a job when I graduate. The earlier you do this, the easier it will be.
Finally, find a good way to work and stick to it. Be organised and make multiple notes and keep them! The earlier you get into this frame of working, the easier essays will be and the easier it will be for you to choose a dissertation question.