As the beginning of September approaches, first year students are beginning the journey that could change the course of their adult life forever. The media is full of news regarding A-Level results and Freshers’ Week with thousands of soon-to-be university students packing up their possessions and preparing for three years of freedom and a new life among thrill-seeking students.
Exciting and terrifying, the first year students never fail to prevail when it comes to societal attention – but what about the students who are closer to an even more important live-changing moment? What about third year students? These students are packing up their things for the third and final time for their last year in higher education before taking that ginormous leap into the “real world.”
Deadlines and difficult decisions
Although tremendously momentous, the Freshers of next month will not be facing the prospect of influential decisions and the ending of three years of hard work, living and friendship. For final year students, third year will be crucial.
There will be dissertation work, final exams, work experience and placements in addition to the emotional stress of finishing your university degree. Leaving behind the place you have spent the last three years and separating from close friends – the final year is bound to be one full of emotional departures and unavoidable decision-making.
After a booze-filled and exciting first year, followed by a probably more studious and realistic second year, students beginning the third year of their university degree are no doubt reading all the news and social media reports with equal parts of jealousy and relief.
The fun of first year could not be further away from the seriousness of third year. Tweets and Facebook updates detailing the minutiae of kitchen utensils, university halls selection and navigating a new city contrast greatly with the preparation for a year certain to be filled with dissertation reading and job searching.
A different kind of adventure
Going into third year myself, I cannot help but feel slightly jealous of the first year students who are about to begin this incredible journey of education, self-discovery and fun, all while my experience is sadly coming to an end.
When I read articles or news pieces about preparation for Freshers’ Week, I wish I could do it all again: the exciting but tumultuous first week, meeting new friends and the independence of living without your parents for the first time.
Despite my longing for university to never end, reading these items also gives me a sense of relief. I can escape from the perils that first years inevitably face – the fear of making new friends, moving away from home and adapting to difficult university study.
Despite the jealousy and the relief, I find the media lacking in news pieces on third year students, the focus is perpetually on the students starting out in university, rather than the ones who are looking forward to an altogether different way of life. First year is, of course, important but university degrees are in three different stages and I believe the ending is just as important as the start.
Whether you are a first, second or third year student – adventure certainly awaits. For freshers, it will be more about fun than pressure and fitting in rather than finding out what you want to do with the rest of your life.
For the students like me who are coming to the end of their degrees, the experience will differ, I’m sure final year promises regular gifts of dissertation deadlines and difficult decisions.
For those students, the end of university ends an experience that will have changed your attitude, work ethic and friendship group. Life after graduation may mean starting out in a terrifying yet very exciting world away from study and into the world of work.
[Image: MC Quinn]
What do you think? Are you a third year student nervous about your final year? Do you agree with the pressures stated here? Have your say in the comments section below.