I was told to write a blog, so here I am, writing my blog…
Not having a clue what to write about, I decided to write about what is on my mind most at the moment, FINAL YEAR and the uncertainties that go with it.
As many students would agree, entering final year of University is extremely daunting but yet quite exciting. Now that I’m already four weeks into potentially my last year of education, the doubt is getting the better of the excitement. With workloads starting to build and deadlines looming; the stress levels are beginning to rise. So, for anyone who may be in the same position, reading this may give you some peace of mind.
Now with only eight months left of my life as a CMPR student at Ulster University here are my five fears for final year:
1. Adapting back into the University life
I successfully secured a placement post at Invest Northern Ireland as a Communication Assistant. I spent 12-months there and it was a tremendous experience and I learned so much.
For me I found it quite easy to adjust to the 9-5 life; having a structure; knowing what most days entail; and the bonus of getting paid monthly, I found myself at ease. Although I was still living in the Holylands, and still enjoying the odd Wednesday night in Bot, I had the best of both worlds of having the benefits and of working full time, and still being able to enjoy the student life of living with my friends.
I finished my placement year in August, I then went Island Hopping in Greece for three weeks and was back to University five days after I came home. So, I never really had much time to mentally prepare myself for final year. I just sort of, fell back into it.
Now that I only have class two days week, I find myself with way too much free time and not knowing what to do with it (watching way too much Netflix). However, I don’t think this will be the case in a few weeks’ time when I’m rushing to finish a 3,000-word essay and wishing I used my time more wisely.
The dreaded ‘D’ word! To say I’m dreading writing a dissertation would be an understatement. Apart from it being 10,000 words and worth a huge chunk of my final degree mark, I’m still not that entirely sure what a dissertation is – although my dissertation lectures are starting to make a bit more sense as the weeks go on.
I have a few ideas on what I want to focus my research on (consumer behaviour or influencer marketing), I’m still yet to settle on a topic.
3. What to do after I graduate
This is probably the one I’m fearing the most – what to do next?
After doing my A-Levels and getting accepted into Ulster University, I had the next four years planned out. I don’t have a plan for the next four.
I have a number of options; get a job in Belfast, Dublin or even round home in Fermanagh; Apply to a grad-scheme; Move to somewhere big like London or New York; or just book a one-way flight somewhere exotic and travel for a year.
I’m already getting email notifications that grad-schemes have opened their application process, however this is giving me flashbacks of applying for a placement job and the stress that comes with it, or there is the opinion of applying to an entry level PR job when the right opportunity comes up.
I’ve always seen myself moving to London after I graduate, with my two sisters and my nieces all living there, it makes a lot more sense for me to relocate.
However, the thought of working for the next 60+ years is quite frightening, and I don’t know if I’m quite ready for that yet. But whatever happens, happens.
4. Money Worries
Prior to now, money problems never crossed my mind. I’ve worked part time from the age of 16 and was always able to buy what I liked without asking my parent for help.
Last year I got used to having a full-time wage and I gave up my part time job when I began my placement year. Now than I back in final year, and for the moment living off my student loan – that is rapidly disappearing, and with most of my savings spent on €15 cocktails in Mykonos, money worries are always at the back of my mind.
And with still not knowing what I want to do after I graduate, I need to have some money set aside to pursue whatever I decide to do – whether that be move away, travel or just blow It on another holiday.
5. The end of an era
So, I’ve only eight months left to make the most of (hopefully) my last year in Belfast. Is it time to make the most of it? Or just settle down and hibernate in the library?
For a girl that made (too much) the most of first and second year. My week usually consisted of: Sundays – Hatfield; Monday – the Fly; Tuesday – Thompsons; Wednesday – Bot; and countless all-day rips in the Rose and Crown. It’s quite sad to think that it’s all coming to an end, and after this I won’t be getting many more opportunities to do that again.
However, first and second year didn’t count towards my degree, so…there’s a lot more at stake this year! So, for the next eight months, I plan to put the effort in, while also enjoying regular night out as well.
Wish me Luck x
Ruth Leonard is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Instagram – @ruthleonard_ / Twitter – @RuthLeonard_ / LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/in/ruth-leonard-057860129/