Top tips for 3rd years: Part 3
Welcome to part 3 out of 3 blog series on top tips and advice for all years!
ResLife brings you a 3-part series blog, each blog giving you some tips and advice for how to make the best out of your University experience, grow yourself and develop your skills.
This blog, the final out of 3, will be broken up into different sections related to Academic success and your own mental health – 2 key aspects for final year.It may be semester 2 but adopting these tips will help you get the most out of your experience here at University during your final year!
1. Start your dissertation/ project NOW and make that plan! (if you haven’t already)
By now, I am sure most will have started your final year dissertation/ project, but if you haven’t for one reason or another, then start NOW.
Students who leave any assessment, let alone a dissertation/project to the last few weeks of the semester really struggle. How can you do extensive reading, research and writing on top of other modules?
For example, my dissertation is 8000 words, containing 6 different chapters. I set myself a target of 2 weeks for each chapter, which varies from 1500 to 2500 words, to submit to my tutor for some feedback/advice. This is a more realistic objective for me. Then on top of this, I then plan out the different subheadings of the chapters and then set deadlines for this (usually 5-7 days each). No matter what way you choose to plan, planning will be your lifesaver!
2. Work little and often
Revising and doing University work from home in the current climate is perhaps more difficult than previous years. When you have a plan, it means you’re organised and on target with what you want to achieve, BUT….. it is also essential to have BREAKS!
The Pomodoro learning style proposes that you work better when you work little and often. They propose the average person’s attention span is roughly 25minutes, meaning you should work 25 mins and then have a 5min break! This can help allow you to utilise your attention span and get the most out of your time!
3. Your mental health matters!
Usually, you’ll hear from friends, family or University that your mental health matters and make sure you take breaks and seek help if you need it. BUT…such comments can be really easily brushed off.
Mental health, as a student in any year, is one of the most important things. As a student, we can often lack motivation, feel lost in what we’re doing, compare ourselves to others, but we shouldn’t. These are some of the things I do to try and maintain a good mindset as a final year:
- Reach out for help/advice (reaching out for help or advice is the first step to get you to a more positive mindset!)
-- Reslife Team (the staff are mental health trained and are always happy to have a chat over zoom with you) – drop the team an email firstname.lastname@example.org
-- Progress Coaches (enquire and reach out to a progress coach – these could be a academic you’re familiar with or someone new
-- Health and Wellbeing Support in The Hub: https://www.coventry.ac.uk/study-at-coventry/student-support/health-and-wellbeing/ )
- Stop comparing yourself (don’t compare your progress of your dissertation or your mark with your course mates’ marks in an essay. Focus on you and your abilities when it comes to assessments. No two people are the same!)
- Don’t overpressure yourself
- Open up to friends or family to offload (If you would rather not seek help via the University, open up to friends or family. A problem/ worry shared is halved! They will have wise words of wisdom for you and can help support you)
4. Keep Healthy on the inside
A really essential part of academic success in any year, particularly final year, when you have more independent work, is to keep yourself healthy. Without being a healthy version of yourself, how can you perform your best?
There are so many studies that show that you perform and learn better when you eat a healthy varied diet, exercise and get a minimum of 8hrs sleep. Some of the things that I try and include in my day-to-day life to remain as healthy as possible is the following:
- 5 a day (between fruit – like a banana and berries and veggies with dinner!)
- An Actimel/ Yakult cultured shot (amazing for your immune system and a yummy thing to have in the morning!)
- Multivitamins (Omega 3 and multivitamin supplements)
Moderately healthy meals but also that choccie or Dominoes when I want it!
5. Don’t get pressured by the ‘Graduate life’ plans
Of course, most of us are at University studying to help us have better career prospects once we graduate. As a third-year, employability really becomes the focus for most, as we become a matter of months away from graduating.
The University does offer support from The Talent Team as you may know in terms of job applications, cover letters, CV’s etc. (Check them out here if you haven’t already: https://talent.coventry.ac.uk/unauth)
However, Graduate life doesn’t just mean a job. Graduate life is anything you choose to do after University. Some may want to apply for ‘Grad Schemes’, or some may want to study further and choose to apply for a Master’s Course (or even a PhD). Some may wish to travel, see and explore the world. Others may not know what they want to do. Any of these is TOTALLY OKAY.
Take me for example, a final year Economics student, unsure of what career I wish to do. I know I love my subject so potentially a Master’s is an option, but I would also love real-world experience in the workplace. Either of these options are great! What I am trying to say is that it is okay to be indecisive and unsure of what you want to do. Your first job or decision after Uni, won’t define your success or future.
TIP: Research and write in a notebook what jobs you could see yourself in. Research and connect with some people in that field to get to know their experience. You will be surprised how many people will open up!
Of course, it is good to have some idea/potential options of what you want to do and action those ideas. See what jobs are out there, apply for some, research masters, apply for some, but do not pressure yourself about getting a job the first time around. If you don’t get accepted onto a Grad Scheme this year, reapply next academic year.
Whatever decision you make will be the best one at the time for you and something you will learn from.
DON'T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS!
Consider adopting these tips into your final semester to help improve your mindset and academic success. Remember you are you and others are others. No two people are the same. Put less pressure on yourself and focus on what your priorities are right now. Planning ahead is good, but don’t get pressured by others around you! Your academic studies are the main focus right now – Milena
Blog written by Milena (Feb 2021)
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