5 Things I Learnt From My Final Year at University
I recently graduated from university, and having heard about A-level results being released, I figured this was a good time to write this post. I wanted to write some kind of overview about my final year, as it was the most crucial (but not the best!) year.
I hope this inspires and informs anyone attending university, so let's get started with my top 5 lessons:
1. It's not what you know, it's who you know
Let me explain, you obviously need knowledge of your subject and modules. But, it's not enough to excel at your degree if you only study the material. You need to speak to others on your course if you have a problem - for example a tutor or a classmate. You wouldn't believe how relieving it is to find out others have no clue what's going on, or how many points you missed out on your practice essay until you ask your tutor! Don't be afraid to ask questions and speak with new people.
2. Ask, Ask, Ask.
Leading on from my last point, always ask. Set yourself a goal of asking a new question everyday you attend lectures or are on campus. Whether it's just a friend who's writing her dissertation or the head of your course about employment opportunities. If you don't ask, your query will never be resolved. It's really that simple. The worst that could happen is they could snap at you "you should know that." But realistically, you should be proud that you made the effort. In class this can be useful too, if you don't understand a topic just raise your arm and ask a specific question!
3. Study Abroad
I took this opportunity twice. I went to Florida for a semester abroad in my second year, and as part of my Chinese degree I studied in Beijing for a year. These were arguably the best years of my entire degree. I met so many amazing people, tried new food, traditions...and alcohol. The year abroad won't even count to your marks so why not? I nearly/kind of/not really perfected my Chinese during the year and it's a travel experience I'll never forget. Plus, my best mark for a term came from my study in Florida.
4. A friend in need is a friend indeed
Whether you are a fresher or a fourth year, make the effort to speak to others. If someone near you is struggling with a task or looks lost, go up and ask them if they need help. Better yet, follow your instinct and maybe ask if they are looking for 'room x' or 'the x meeting'. I've made a lot of friends through this method - seeing them another time will be much friendlier as you met previously under awkward circumstances!
5. Play hard, work harder
Go out on the weekends you don't have to complete something for a deadline. Go for a drink at that fun student bar or for dinner with a friend visiting from home. I regret a little bit not going out much. It's your final year before "real life" hits, and you have to take up more responsibility. I went out twice (lunch doesn't count) but organise a plan in advance so people have no excuse to bail. You'll be surprised what a good night out can do for stress levels. Plan out your work load so you don't wake up the next day with a bird's nest for hair and no memory of the night before except for the two papers you didn't write.
Those are my best lessons, and I hope they can become yours too!