Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Zen your mind before your final year

Emma Williams is back with yet another great blog. If you will be a finalist next year make sure you read this before you jet off for your summer holidays. 

I’m sure prospective third year students reading this either in the manic stress of revision or  ignorant bliss of summer holidays will agree that the looming inevitability of third year is something that brings on thoughts of immense pressure, incessant hours of work and a load of grey hairs and eye bags.

And on top of the prescribed stresses that our degree brings, the dreaded idea of work experience and internships just adds to the worry of what we should be doing or achieving by a certain time in our ‘university career’. The main thing to be remembering is that measuring your accomplishments against others is the worst thing to do, and unlike school where competition is normal and comparison is how you determine how much effort you put into homework or modular test, life in university has to be all about yourself—which is most definitely scary if you do not have a CLUE what you want to do. At all.

As naff and spiritual as this may sound, this panic has to be refuted so that you can clarify what it is you want to do, and have to do in the last few months of your degree. So in order to do this the most important thing to do is clear your mind and basically, calm yourself  from any stress that’s looming.

Taking one step at a time in planning is crucial to de-stressing. Thinking about your dissertation topic in the midst of revising for second year exams is not the healthiest thing to do, and obviously will bring on the anticipation of internship deadlines, dissertation research, and you’ll even start stressing over organizing your summer, which is supposed to be fun!

Another thing that is important to do is really take into account the length of a year: you have plenty of time to either get your act together in terms of grades if that’s what’s worrying you, you have months of musing over what to write 7,000 words on before summer and what exactly you want to do with your life. It’s comforting to know that some graduates leave university trying to explore what their ‘calling’ is: and in this climate you have nothing to lose in exploring what you want to do before leaping into a job.

Remembering that you have a lot of time before the end of your degree is a relief when everything feels as if it’s on top of you, and the best thing to make use of too is your course or house mates during this time. You have more in common than the types of nights out you like and how you all love a lie in; its this confusion and frustration of not knowing what to do that unites us all as students, and is something that’s worth discussing and talking through with people going through the same thing.

All in all, calming your mind and de-stressing is the easiest way to clarify what you want to do, or at least what you don’t, and the best way to go into your final year where you want to be pro-active and efficient. But by logically thinking about how much time you have, your options, and the support networks of university mates, your family and career support, you will be able to offload and zen your mind of any anticipations and stress before your final year—where everything falls into place.

And finally a tip from us, TARGETjobs: If you really want to make your final year count make the most of your resources near you, such as your career services. 

Hope you find this post useful.