So you’ve just finished your placement year (or had it, unfortunately, cut short due to COVID-19), and gained a bunch of new skills, from interpersonal communication to team-work. Now is the time to get thinking about final year, luckily I’ve got 6 tips and tricks to ensure you make the best of term 1 in the most stress-free possible.
As someone who enjoyed working as an assistant psychologist and the routine of a 9 am-5 pm schedule and was then thrown into lectures again, I found myself struggling to keep on top of things.
Lesson learnt: it’s much better to be prepared than to wander into final year without a clue.
6 Top Tips for Nailing the First Term of Final Year
Tip #1: Understand its Value
One thing we often forget about final year it that it holds more weight than other years. Now before you stress yourself out about that, know that being prepared is half the battle. Or, in this case, understanding its value is half the battle. Remind yourself that final year may be tough but it will be worth in the end.
Tip #2: Read Module Specifications
As I’ve just said, being prepared is half the battle. So before you even start any of your modules or dissertation, read any specs your lecturer has provided. Highlight, underline or circle the learning objectives, the assessment type, and key skills. Even better, write them all down in your planner/notebook and refer back to them regularly.
Tip #3: Know Your Deadlines
This goes hand in hand with preparation, knowing your deadlines is crucial to succeeding in the first term. The weeks go by so fast and multiple pieces will be due at similar times. So to avoid last-minute panic, invest in a planner/diary/notebook or use your phone’s calendar and write out the times and exactly what’s due, whether it be a research proposal, an essay, lab report, etc.
Tip #4: Strive for a Work/Life Balance
Despite my drilling in the importance of preparation, the key to survival is to have a good balance. Depending on whether you decide to do a postgraduate(s) degree or not, the could be your last time at Aston, not just work-wise but social-wise. Just like work, schedule in time to meet friends for drinks/lunch, or even for a walk around campus. Work hard, but party harder, it’ll all be worth it when graduation comes around.
Tip #5: Establish Links with Staff
This is also the perfect time to meet with staff again, there’s always the option to meet and lecturers during office hours. But don’t forget about your personal tutor, meet them to update them on placement year/second year, and tell them your goals for final year or even career plans. They’re the best people to point you in the right direction. If a job is your next step, book appointments with the Careers+Placements Service or meet with a specific consultant. There’s a whole host of useful staff that are open to supporting you as best as possible.
Tip #6: Seek Support When You Need It
Final year is tough, there’s no doubt about it, with modules that have coursework and exams to dissertations, and even job interviews. There’s always something going on and even something to do, but that shouldn’t get in the way of seeking support. This can be support from family and friends, staff members but most importantly, counselling services are available. Despite what you may think you don’t have to be experiencing a major life crisis to seek counselling support, whether you’re struggling with workload or anxiety or general everyday problems and need someone to talk to, they’re there to help.
I hope these 6 top tips give you an insight at what you’ll need to succeed during final year, remember to make the most of it because before you know you’ll be getting ready to graduate!!