My absence from the blog probably makes it clear that final year is very stressful.
Honestly, I've never been so stressed/constantly hangry/exhausted for as long as I can remember. If you're also in your final year of uni, I'm sure there's a good chance you feel the same, or, heaven forbid, even worse (I'm so sorry). So I've compiled an *exciting* pro/con list of the things I'm finding okay and really not okay as the end of my undergraduate draws nearer (this is genuinely one of the most exciting things I've done in the past week I'm so mad).
Starting with the bad so we can finish on a high note (it's necessary).
- The workload has been upped beyond belief. Literally, just the difference in essay word count this year has been extreme: from 2000 word essays to double that.
- The fact that this year is weighted so much more than last. Third year is work 75% of my final grade and that has been messing with me since I found out two years ago. I'm worried and even more stressed due to this fact - especially because everything feels more difficult.
- For my course in particular, and I'm sure the majority of other arts based courses, we have very limited contact hours. For my English degree we have six hours in a lecture room/seminar room a week: 2 x 1 hour lectures, 2 x 2 hour seminars. And I understand that a lot of the work is reading the texts, which is obviously an independent task, but it would perhaps be more useful if we got more time for discussion. Which brings me onto...
- It's difficult to know where you are with your work. We have next to no formative work, so get very little feedback from our tutors, so it's very difficult to know if you're heading in the right direction. Especially since all my modules are based either on one long essay or a single exam, so if that one thing goes badly, there's no room to improve.
- Lastly, the fact that you constantly have to think about what's next. And, for me, not knowing what the next thing will be (and everyone constantly asking you about it hahahaH stOP).
But let's talk about the good.
- Knowing a lot of people on your course. You've made friends and, nonetheless, find it a lot easier to make friends as a result. There are a lot of people on my course, so I'll never know everyone, but it's nice that whenever you walk into a lecture/seminar for the first time you'll see at least a few familiar faces.
- You know how you work best by final year. You've experimented with your revision techniques, you've found your favourite study space (although mine is sadly no longer available due to a new library), and even more importantly, you know which coffee place will have the shortest line no matter the time of day.
- You are finally able to focus on the topic areas that interest you the most. Being able to choose all your own modules is an absolute blessing. At this point I've been really able to get into my essay topic and actually enjoy doing the reading and research for them. And luckily, a keen interest means that those long word counts are actually a lot easier to reach.
- Last, but not least, having the knowledge that the end is nigh, and you have become a different, more independent, keener to learn individual. Though I don't think I'd ever want to do an undergrad ever again, I know that I've become a better person because of it and I've worked as hard as I can to achieve something that I didn't think I'd be able to do five years ago.
So all in all, though it's been tough and though it'll probably only feel worse throughout the next few months, it's been a challenge that I will look back upon with a smile. Always.
Until next time.