My years at university have gone by in a flash, and it’s frightening to think that I’m starting my final year in a matter of days. Knowing that this could potentially be my last year in education is a very daunting thought as it’s been my life for the past 16 years.
What I love about being in education is the stability of it. I always know what I’m going to be doing for the next five years, the next three years and now that’s down to one year. After this it’s out into the big, bad world and absolutely nothing is certain or stable.
Who knows where I’m going to be 18 months from now, three years from now or ten years from now. It’s both exciting and extremely terrifying.
With final year starting in a few days’ time, below is a list of five things that I’m not looking forward to:
1. Figuring out what I’m meant to do for the rest of my life
Final year. There’s one very important word in that sentence: ‘Final.’ My years as a university student are coming to an end. My years as a student in general, are coming to an end. Unless I choose to do a Masters course, but I’m already £50,000 deep in Student Loan debt, so should I really be adding more to that?
With this being my final year, I now have to decide how I want the rest of my life to look, and what on earth I want to do with it.
This may be easy for some people as they may have a job lined up or they may know exactly where they want to be based and are happy to search for a job there. But for me I have no idea where I want to be after graduation, whether I want to go straight into work, or travel, or both, or apply for grad-schemes. I have no idea. My options are wide open so I am open to any advice, opinions or suggestions.
I need to start thinking about my future and whether I want to spend the next few years travelling, hop straight on that career ladder or do something completely out of the blue like go and teach English in a foreign country. What do I want the rest of my life to look like and how am I going to achieve that? Is PR what I want to be doing for the rest of my life? (Um, YES!)
To say I’m dreading writing a dissertation would be an understatement. It seems to have this reputation of being a beast of a project, extremely difficult and most people seem to camp out for weeks on end in the library writing it.
When it comes to assignments I’m usually a last-minute kind of person as I work best under pressure. I work much better at 3am knowing there’s only 21 hours until the deadline, compared to completing the assignment over stages a week before. You’ll never see me having an essay finished more than one day in advance. If I did, I would read over it too many times and want to change too many things.
Being honest, I still don’t really understand what a dissertation is other than 10,000 words and a huge chunk of my final mark. I have a few ideas swimming around my head about the topic I want to write about and it will definitely have something to do with Influencer Marketing. The only thing I’m a little unsure about is that Influencer Marketing is still relevantly quite new, so there’s not that much data or numbers to back up campaigns and return on investment, which is what I’d be most interested in.
3. Being broke and stressed out
As final year is super important, and very time consuming, a lot of students have been concerned about adding a part-time job on top of this. Personally, I know that I couldn’t be without a part-time job as I would both need money coming in on a regular basis to get by and I would also want to be gaining work experience while I’m at uni. I had two part-time jobs during my second year so I would definitely feel out-of-sorts if I didn’t have a part-time job during my final year.
However I’ve been so used to seeing a full-time wage come in every month that it will be very different to see only a fraction of this appearing in my bank account from now on. It’s very daunting but I will need to learn how to budget and try to not spend all of my money on the weekends.
The best thing about Liverpool is that I won’t need to spend any money on travel except to get to and from work on the one or two days that I’ll be working each week. Everywhere else is only a few minutes walk away from my flat; my uni campus, the library, the gym, shops, where we go out – everywhere.
I’ll also need to be smart with my money and somehow save during my final year as I’ll need money for whatever it is I’m to do after I graduate. If I want to go abroad, go travelling, move back to London etc. I will need to have a substantial amount of savings behind me in order to do so.
4. Not making the most of it
When I say I’m in my final year of uni, it’s technically only eight months at most. Which means I can’t let it go by without making the most of my final months as a student. As much as I wish it could be like my first year all over again, I know it’s going to be very, very different.
I’m older, wiser and have a lot more riding on my shoulders as first year didn’t technically count at all.
I want to do and see everything that I haven’t in Liverpool so far, make more great memories of nights out that I hope will be a regular occasion – I will go out with only £20 if I have to – and I want to make sure I put a lot of effort into my uni work and come out the end with the result I know I should get.
I’ve been told quite a lot this year to definitely make the most of being a student one last time as you won’t get this kind of freedom and relaxed structure once you start working. I plan to use my free time very wisely, getting back to the gym now that I’ll have more time to do so, really focus on my blog and set myself new goals and things I want to achieve by the time the year (eight months) is over.
5. Making the decision about what I’m going to do post-graduation
This is probably the one I’m fearful of the most. I know some of the big grad-schemes open their applications very soon which reminds me of applying for placements all over again and I remember how stressful that was. But is a grad-scheme what I want to do? I don’t know.
I have so many options that I’m open to once I graduate. I’d love to pack my bags and move to another place, either in Europe, America, Australia or who knows? I could travel or I could set myself up and get a job just to experience what it’s like to live in another culture. I’m open to having some life experience before getting my foot on the career ladder.
I could also go straight into work and look for entry-level positions and start working my way up in the PR world. But if I’m honest, I don’t really want to go into work straight away after already having a lot of work experience under my belt. Plus I’ll only be 22 years old. There’s plenty of time to work, but not much time to see the world.
But there are also a few other things I’m looking into at the moment as graduation is constantly in the back of my mind and I always like to know what my next step is going to be. There’s a few exciting opportunities that I could potentially go for, but whether I have the confidence to pursue them, time will tell. But as I always say, whatever is for you, won’t pass you and if it’s meant to be, then it will.
Richard Bailey says
I agree with her (but without the emojis).
Happy to talk about your dissertation if I can help (I’ve supervised several on influencer marketing) – and about careers. Living with – and loving – uncertainty: that almost sounds like a definition of the PR role.
Thanks so much Richard! I think I’ll definitely be needing all the help/advice I can get this year.
Jess Pardoe says
If you ever need any help with the diss – give me a shout. I did mine on calculating return on investment. It’s not an easy topic but very satisfying when you reach a conclusion 🙂 xx
Thanks so much Jess! That would be super helpful! xx