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Why I wish someone had prepared me for third year at university

Final year at university is like being in a different time zone.

I am already about to finish my first semester which means I'm even closer to graduating and I am SCARED.

I was always told third year would be a lot of work, but compared to the previous two years it's a complete step up. I am literally always in the library, or always working on uni work. I never expected it to be this intense. I have deadlines coming out of my ears, so many 50-page readings, a dissertation to write and trying to juggle all that with a job, societies and a social life—I basically don't stop. With careful planning, I do manage to just about look after myself while keeping busy, but third year has completely taken me by surprise.

I find I am constantly working on something, and with multiple deadlines and things to do at the same time, I struggle to know where to put my energy.

I find there will always be at least one thing that takes priority or there will be something that doesn't get enough attention. Even with careful planning, it's hard to make sure everything gets an equal amount of time spent on it—that's just a fact of life. But, with so much to do all the time it has made my anxiety so much worse. I find I am constantly tired from worrying, despite how much sleep I get. I feel I always need to be working on something, and get insanely stressed if I'm not. I even find it difficult to relax sometimes, thinking of all the things I should be doing. The constant state of panic I'm in about finding enough time to do everything I want to do is absolutely draining, and don't even mention what I'm going to do when I graduate.

I just wish there could've been someone there to prepare me.

We all hear from our third-year pals how hard it is and how they're working all the time but somehow a part of you doesn't believe them. Well, I'm here to tell you BELIEVE THEM and prepare yourself. All my friends are constantly in the library, everyone's always working on something and everyone is always tired. The work-load is on another level, there just seems to be so much more despite not having many contact hours. Don't get me wrong, there are fun times, but third year is no freshers. One night out and we're killed off for the entire week, so they're few and far between. In a way, that's good because you actually get excited about night's out again, but at the same time there can be weeks when you're desperate to go out but you know your assignments definitely won't be letting you. Third-year involves a lot of time at the library and at home, but in some ways, I am actually enjoying it.

Despite worrying about what I'm going to do after I graduate, there are so many positives to third-year.

It's not all doom-and-gloom, don't worry! I'm making better memories because I'm only surrounded by people that are truly my friends and I'm working harder and pushing myself even further. As I'm not going out as much I find I have so much more time to cook, so I'm eating well, I'm spending more time with my housemates and watching more Netflix than I care to admit.

I think—for my anxiety's sake—I would've liked someone to prepare me for how I was going to feel this year. I am anxious a lot, and then feeling drained from said anxiety—it seems like a constant cycle and one I wish I had braced myself for. I know third year is going to be mentally draining but I will make it there in the end—it's just a lot harder than I thought!

Third year definitely has its ups and downs, but I know all the stress will be worth it in the end.
Featured image: Nick Morrison on Unsplash

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