We all learn lessons in life and sometimes we wish we knew then, what we know now – or at least I do!  So, as a final year student, that’s just about survived first semester, I thought I would pass on some tips to future final years in the fab Jordanstown UU.

  1. Enjoy Uni while you still can

I had heard people say that final year is super difficult, but I sort of brushed it off and didn’t pay much attention, until I was rudely awakened with a reality check!  IT’S SO HARD!  It’s definitely a step up from my first two years, so my number one tip would be to just enjoy Uni, while you still can.  If your degree is like mine, 100% depends on your final year marks, the stress is unavoidable.  You have no choice but to work hard and actually stay behind in the library after lectures.  Your dissertation will consume your life and there won’t be a speck of light at the end of the tunnel, until the May deadline (casually drooling about that moment as I type).Z6

     2. If you get the option for placement – take it! 

As part of our course, we had the option of completing a work placement in third year.  I jumped at the opportunity and it was honestly one of my best decisions!  It gives you such a thirst for work – I know, I can’t believe I said that!  It’s true, you experience first-hand how to be an adult.  Is it scary? Yes.  Then why do it?  It provides you with fantastic work experience, it doesn’t look too bad on the oul CV and you can even be lucky, like me and make friends for life.  It also gives you a well-deserved break before you start, what is guaranteed to be, the most stress filled year of your life.  For a full breakdown of where I spent my year in full time work and how I applied, have a look at my ‘Placement Goals at Tourism NI’ post on ulsterprstudentblog.com. 

3. The secrets of the library 

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So, if you’re like me, then you barely use the library, and only when absolutely necessary!  Well, with deepest regrets, I have to tell you all, that it becomes your home in the final year, yep, you actually spend more time there, than you ever thought possible.  During the past few months, I have discovered some pretty useful tips that you may already be aware of, but I’m going to share them anyway for those of you who aren’t.  First of all, there is a quiet area, past the main desk on the second floor.  It’s great for taking your laptop and doing some work.  If you wanted zero noise and a computer, you can find a silent computer lab adjacent to this area – however, beware of noisy food wrappers, as you can literally hear a pin drop!Z4

The next study area is my favourite and I deliberated including it, as it’s almost too good to share, but I opted for being a ‘good person’ and tell you!  There are four individual pods with sockets to charge your laptop – it really is the small things in life.  They are located on the second floor, through the doors, near the printers and immediately on your right hand side.  I hope they change your life in the same way they have mine.

    4. Get your Library books ASAP 

It was pretty scary when I went to get some textbooks after our first lecture and the shelves were almost empty!  I thought I was on the ball, but clearly not.  It seemed that everyone rushed after class to get their hands on them and avoid paying ridiculous prices for books that you’ll probably never read again.  Thankfully, between my friends and I, we managed to get all the key books by the skin of our teeth.  So in semester two, I plan to read the module guide prior to class and get the textbooks, asap!  I really can’t be dealing with any added stress, so anything to ease semester two, will be done!

    5. Do as many activities, for the EDGE Award, as you can 

My final tip to future final years is in regards to EDGE.  If you’re planning on going for it, then do as many activities as you can in the first few years of your degree, as there is barely any time to eat in final year, never mind worry about and complete an activity!  Luckily, placement counts as one and I also took part in PANI, as part of my advertising module – highly recommended if its available to you!  Having two activities under my belt was a life saver and I have to say, there are other opportunities available in final year, but just don’t leave them all to then!

I really hope, at least one person benefits from these tips and I wish everyone good luck in the final year of their degree!  Just remember, all the hard work will pay off!

Kimberley O’Hare is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter @Kimberley_Ohare and LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimberley-o-hare-b3225a153/ 

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