Blog post

How to survive final year

Megan Wallbanks, a final-year BA (Hons) Media and Communications student, shares her top tips for survivng your final year.

By Megan Wallbanks - 26 July 2022

If you’re about to go into your final year at university, it is entirely normal to feel stressed and anxious about what is to come. Everyone talks about how hard final year is and I won’t lie – yes, it is. In fact, it has been one of the most challenging years of my life, but also one that I’m going to remember forever as one of my greatest achievements.

It’s been nothing short of a rollercoaster, but here are a few things that have helped me manage the workload and stress. As well as academic pressure, it’s also important to start planning for life after uni. So, keep reading to find out how you can best prepare yourself for final year!

Start the prep work early

First, let’s talk about how you can best prepare yourself for final-year work and assessments. The earlier you start to organise things, the easier life will become. Organisation is key during your final year. I’m sure, throughout your time at uni, you'll have experienced the pressure of deadlines. Let’s just say that pressure is turned up a notch during final year.

Make a list to keep on track of all your deadlines, important dates, supervisor, and tutor meetings. Get into a routine of doing this and you’ll feel more organised and that you have everything in control. The worst thing you can do is procrastinate, especially during semester one. This was one of my downfalls. For so long, I kept putting my dissertation off and relying on the "I still have so much time" excuse. But time will go so quick in your final year. And, before you know it, the deadline will be around the corner.

So, make the most out of semester one. Start writing, reading, and taking notes of all your ideas. Don’t leave it until after Christmas because, trust me, although it may feel like it, you DO NOT have all the time in the world!

Three students around a laptop working on a group project

Start to prepare for life after graduation

Now we move onto the really scary part: preparing for life after uni. Again, the earlier you start to think about this and do your research, the better. I know the thought of leaving uni can be overwhelming. You should take advantage of all the amazing support on offer at the university because it will make your life so much easier.

I’d highly recommend booking a meeting with a career’s advisor if you’re feeling anxious or just feel you need someone to talk to. It was honestly one of the best things I ever did. We discussed all my post-grad options and opportunities and they have helped me improve my CV, write a personal statement, and practice my interview skills. Don’t worry if you still have no idea what you want to do, the meetings can be as broad as you like. Just start the conversation.

I also recommend building up your LinkedIn profile. Add in all your skills, experience, networking and connections with people in your field. Treat it like your portfolio. There are so many amazing opportunities on there. It’s also beneficial to set your profile as "open to work" so recruiters can find you.

If you’re a LinkedIn beginner and struggling with getting started, don’t panic! The University often holds LinkedIn workshops to help improve your LinkedIn presence. Check the University's latest events for what's coming up.

Two students in graduation caps and gowns smiling at each other

Don't feel pressured to have the perfect plan

Although it is so important to start thinking about your future plans, it’s equally important to not put too much pressure on yourself. It’s OK to not know what you want to do after uni! Remember, you aren’t the only one. I’m still deciding whether I want to do further education or dive into the deep end with a grad job.

You may be the opposite and have huge ambitions, which is so amazing. But always have a plan B lined up! Although I would love to go into further education, I have also applied for other placements and internships as a backup. So, always have your options open.

If you’re struggling, get in touch with Student Services and they’ll support you throughout your final year. Although it's a tough year, don’t forget to try and enjoy it! It may seem overwhelming and stressful, but it will be so worth it in the end.

Keep powering through and, remember, every day you are one step closer to the finishing line.

About the author

Media and Communications student - Megan Wallbanks.

Megan Wallbanks

Currently a final year Media and Communications student at the University of Derby. I am also a Marketing Rep and Student Communications Ambassador. Outside of uni, I am a freelance content creator, sustainable fashion blogger, and crazy Frenchie mum!