Two of our Level 3 undergraduates reflect on their third year at university
This interview was conducted and edited by Ellie Lowe and Abbie Arestis.
Are there any general reflections you would like to make on third year as a whole?
Ellie: Third year was nowhere near as scary as I thought it was going to be. It really was just an extension of what I had been doing for the last two years with more of an emphasis on the independent study side of things. What I will say about third year is that it is far more important to pick modules you enjoy rather than the ones you think will be easiest to pass. This is because your workload does increase and you will find it extremely difficult to motivate yourself over a piece of work you don’t really care about.
Daniel: Although I am a person who is generally relaxed and not troubled by stressful situations, I did not expect the work load and other commitments to pile up the way they did in my third year. I get involved in various extra-curricular activities and train extensively with Athletics, and these other commitments made deadlines and university commitments more difficult to achieve at the beginning of the year.
What have you enjoyed most?
Daniel: I have enjoyed the variety of topics and different teaching experiences throughout my university experience. As a history student at the University, you can pick modules that focus on various geographical locations, theoretical ideas, and different historical time periods.
Ellie: The best bit of the past year has been the people I got to spend it with. We don’t have any compulsory modules which bring the whole year together so I had to put a lot of effort into keeping in contact and meeting up with people. Surprisingly, this year I became a lot closer with a different group of classmates, and it’s great to leave university with new friends.
What aspects have you struggled with most?
Ellie: I definitely struggled with just the thought of having to start my dissertation. The actual writing of it wasn’t too difficult after the first couple of hundred words but getting past that mental block was something I struggled with. If I was to do it again I would just rip the band aid off and start straight away so I wouldn’t be able to stall and doubt myself.
Daniel: I have struggled the most with the time management aspect of third year. I found it difficult to maintain good grades within my modules and ensure that work towards my dissertation was maintained. The level of work alongside the dissertation was certainly one of my biggest struggles this year.
Is there anything you wish you had known at the start of the year?
Daniel: I wish that I knew about the sheer workload of the third year, as at the beginning of the year I underestimated the amount of work and extra reading required to ensure the best grades.
Ellie: I wish I had known that Tesco mark down all their sandwiches after 3pm – that could have saved me a small fortune!
Is there any advice you would give to new first years?
Ellie: I would definitely say just enjoy the experience because it goes so quickly. Don’t let nerves get the better of you in the first few weeks and take every opportunity as it comes. While being at university I have met my best friends, and have enjoyed so many new experiences that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do without coming here. Three years fly by so enjoy them while you can.
Daniel: The best piece of advice that I could give new first year students is BE YOURSELF. It is very easy in the new university environment to try and remould your personality. If you engage in clubs, sports teams and extra-curricular activities you will begin to surround yourself with like-minded individuals. Participation in societies and sports teams made my university experience far more enjoyable. Do not be afraid to try new things!