Earlier this year I wrote a goodbye letter to my second year of university but now, a few months and a global pandemic later, the fears of final year are taking hold.
I now have the looming thoughts of final grades, full time jobs and further study. I know I want to do a Masters but I can never decide on what to study. Should I continue straight onto a Masters? Or should I take a break and get some professional experience?
Speaking of professional experience…will anyone employ me? Should I be doing more now to improve my CV? Should I be volunteering on top of my placement hours, getting mentored, doing more research?
These things all depend on good grades…I’ve done well so far but who knows how I’ll do in third year? How can I possibly manage a dissertation?!
The point of this post is not to actually force you to answer my questions, don’t worry! This is just me showing you that we all get scared. We all feel unsure. But a degree is such a fleeting experience and your university experience is over before you know it. So let’s step back, breathe and enjoy it together. We’ll be okay.
Two weeks ago I attended the annual graduation ball organised by Edge Hill’s student union so I thought I would tell you all about it and how the evening went!
So, the ball costs £49 to attend it include a three course meal at Aintree Racecourse and entry to the afterparty held in the students union. The meal at the ball was really nice we had a ham starter, chicken dinner for main and a delicious chocolate tart for dessert, I really enjoyed the food and it was all so nice!
I pretty much spent most of the day getting ready and then at about 6 pm we made our way to Aintree by getting the train which only takes 15 minutes and it was really amazing, everyone was so excited so the atmosphere was incredible. The weather was amazing as well so it was so nice to get some pictures by the racecourse in the sun!
As you go in, there is a complimentary glass of Prosecco for everyone and its such a nice time to catch up and just get lots of photos and find your table. After the meal, everyone was dancing and there was some incredible entertainment including drag queens and magicians.
After pretty much dancing the whole night away, we got the train back to Ormskirk and we made our way to the students union for the afterparty. Venue was decorated like a marquee and it was incredible!
I had the best time ever and I would definitely recommend going to grad ball when you graduate as it is something I will never ever forget. It was so nice to spend time with my friends and celebrate finally finishing our degrees!
Well, that’s it! I have finished my third year at Edge Hill doing my literature degree.
I had quite a lot of work due in over the last few weeks and I am so glad I can finally just chill and be able to do what I want – as well as no longer living in the library! It really did become my second home for a good few weeks.
I’ve now got all my final marks back and I got a 2:1* on my dissertation which I was so happy with especially as it is something that I put so much effort into and worked so hard on!
*University grade boundaries work as follows
70%-100% = First
60-69% = 2:1
50%-59% = 2:2
40%-49% = Third
I found it so strange when I discovered university grades so I thought I would include this just to help any of you!
Campus also feels very quiet now as most students have finished their studies for the summer and I definitely miss seeing campus so busy. It feels so strange to know that I have now finished my undergraduate degree and now I just need to graduate which I am so excited for!
Congratulations to all other third years on finishing our degrees! As well as all the other students for finishing the year!
As I enter my penultimate week of lectures as I am in my last year I thought it would be nice to look at my highlights of being at Edge Hill over the last three years! I have had a great time and I am definitely going to miss it!
This year all my friends are turning 21, and whilst my birthday isn’t until June, it has been amazing celebrating with my friends! For example, we have been for meals, attended parties and even just had a sleepover and film night!t!
This year I went to Ghetto Golf for the first time! This is located in the heart of Liverpool next to the baltic market, for £10 you can play an 18 hole round of crazy golf, the decorations are incredible and its such a fun night out!
I had been to Liverpool before coming to Edge Hill but I feel that in my time here I have really got to know the city and I love it there its such an exciting and thriving place. In September last year, we went to see the Giants as they returned to the city. They were incredible and it is a day I will never forget.
In the summer months, me and my friends make the most of our free time and we try to go on as many days out as we can! We have been to Southport a few times, which is just a short train or bus journey away. It is so nice to just walk around the gardens and along the pier, I really love playing on the 2p machines!
Finally, getting to celebrate special occasions with my housemates have been some of my favourite memories of university! I made us a Christmas dinner last year and we all loved it, we even had some bucks fizz! Living one of my friends has definitely been my favourite part of university and I will really miss them when I move home!
I thought today I could share with you some of my New Years resolutions for 2019!
Be healthier – It is definitely true that with university comes a lot of takeaways and convenience foods for those late nights in the library. So, I just want to be a bit more aware of what I am eating and be mindful of eating more fruit and veg.
Exercise – this is such a typical one but me and my housemates have decided we are going to join a gym and we really want to do some exercise classes like Zumba and maybe spinning!
Social media – I definitely want to spend less time on my phone this year as I feel like I am way too consumed by instagram and other social medias and it is not healthy! I want to enjoy living in the moment a lot more than living life thinking about instagram likes!
Make the most of university – this is my last year at uni now so I really want to make the most of it and enjoy the final months of living in Ormskirk and being with my friends!
what are you New Years resolutions!?
Happy new year and as always thank you for reading!
As my third and final year of university as an undergraduate draws closer, I’m wondering how different it will be to second year. You might also be wondering what modules are available to you in your final year of a biological sciences degree. As I’m doing a Genetics BSc, I have four compulsory modules: Applications of Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics, Ecological Genetics, and Dissertation – Genetics. This leaves me with one optional module. Optional modules for Genetics and other biological sciences degrees for third-year include:
SCI3309 Biodiversity and Conservation
SCI3310 Tropical Ecology
SCI3312 Environmental Change
SCI3314 Current Issues in Biology
SCI3318 Invertebrate Ecology
SCI3325 Ecological Interactions
SCI3326 Conservation Issues
SCI3329 Field Botany
SCI3322 Laboratory Masterclass
SCI3017 Nerves, Brain and Behaviour
Some of these modules are available in second-year, and some are even mandatory, such as Laboratory Masterclass being a compulsory module for second-year geneticists. Some of my compulsory genetics modules can also be taken as optional modules for other biological sciences degrees. More information can be found here!
Entering third year can be a daunting or scary prospect, it’s weighted heavier than second year (60:40) and in some cases holds the compulsory dissertation module. If you’ve been away for a year for whatever reason, be it for personal or educational reasons, going into a new year group may also be quite nerve-wracking. I was away last year on a sandwich placement and am nervous myself about entering classes potentially knowing no-one there. But if we could do it in first-year, we can do it again! There may be a bit of added pressure this year but it’s essentially the same, classes and studying, maybe less partying, and a more long-term project in the form of a dissertation.
The future is a vast and uncharted ocean, but it seems looks like smooth sailing ahead… Godspeed!
In September I will be starting my third and last year of university at Edge Hill. It’s something I have been thinking about a lot and the idea of graduating in just over a year is so terrifying as it feels as if I started uni last week!!
Many people will already know that your third year is the most important year of study in your degree programme as it it worth 60% of your overall grade. This year I will also be doing a dissertation which I am both excited and nervous for as I get to research a topic I am really passionate about and explore it in more detail than I ever have before.
The prospect of leaving uni is also nerve wracking especially as the friends I have made are all scattered across the UK, and i will be so sad to not be living with them anymore. I definitely want to make the most of third year and create some unforgettable memories with my friends.
If you have any questions about anything I have mentioned then please leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible!
Although I’m working at the Field Museum most days, I still work at the arboretum on Thursdays. The main purpose of this is for the individual and group lab meetings, but it’s also a good time for me to focus on analysing the data from the prairie restoration project, this includes the biomass data I collected in autumn, as well as NDVI and soil data collected previously by Lane and other researchers. Towards the start of the month, Andrew and I sat down and worked through the data, analysing the NDVI readings from one section of the experiment, with particularly deep soil, to their replicates in other sections. Later in February, I cleaned up the code and set aside what worked, making use of RStudios notebooks that use markdown – I’m finding them very handy. Next up is checking to see if the results observed from the NDVI data are reflected in the biomass data.
Working in R again got me thinking back to second year, when myself and Heather tackled a small research project during our Research Methods module. Our study was on leaf morphometrics and involved ~80 samples from 6 sites. This, of course, pales in comparison to a full dissertation but was a very useful intro to the world of research. My dissertation next year is still something I need to be thinking about, as are my module choices for third year. Currently, BSc Genetics students only have one optional module in their final years, making this decision particularly difficult – I’m considering at least 4 modules right now.
In the middle of February, I took a trip over to New England, specifically Mount Holyoke College, to visit some friends. Although I didn’t get to see much of Boston, Massachusetts seems like a beautiful state and reminded me more of home than anywhere else in the US so far. Mt Holyoke College is also remarkable, being a fairly old women’s college that features grand brick buildings and a variety of trees, such that they form the Talcott arboretum, which accompanies the Mt Holyoke College Botanical Garden (which has a corpse flower!). It was nice to hear that they’re also a progressive women’s college, accepting trans and non-binary students – perhaps unsurprising considering the college’s LGBT history. The nearby town of Northampton (or ‘Noho’) even features a rainbow zebra crossing. Everyone I met was friendly and welcoming, letting me join them in some interesting lectures and also indoor rock climbing – something I’ve missed doing whilst being over here.
Living with your friends sounds like the ultimate dream right?! Well, it really can be, but you need to remember that you and your friends are completely different people. You don’t truly know a person until you live with them and you may have a bit of a shock when you move in. Luckily I’ve complied a list of things to keep in mind when living with friends that should make your time as housemates as fun as you always imagined.
You and you friends will have undoubtedly come from different backgrounds. Whether that’s places, races, religions or even just a different family dynamic. This will always affect the way they live their day to day lives. You need to be respectful of your friend’s traditions, the way they keep their room and their schedules – whatever is important to them. In order to live harmoniously, you’ll have to learn to strike up compromises when your ideas clash with those of your friends. It’s not as hard as it sounds; for example, if you come from the kind of family where there is lots of noise and your friend comes from a small family and prefers silence in the house, you’ll have to talk it out and work out what level of noise is appropriate for the both of you to live comfortably.
Different ideas of clean
One of the biggest differences I had to deal with when living in a student house was mine and my friends’ differing ideas of how clean the house should be. I’m a self-proclaimed ‘neat freak’, I hate the idea of anything being less than spotless – which makes me a real pain to live with sometimes, but I’ve had to learn to accept that things never stay that way – which is totally normal. One way to combat this is to draw up a cleaning rota and stick to it. Each person has their own responsibilities to complete in their own time and then the cleaning isn’t just left to one person. It’s also good to dedicate one day a week to cleaning – a day that everyone is free – and then you have a bit of a routine going.
When you sign up to live with other people to sign up to seeing them at the worst as well as their best. There will be times when your friends feel low or act a bit moody. You need to establish from the beginning what their boundaries are and what’s best to do in those situations. Some people like to have people around them when they’re feeling sad and others want to be alone. Establishing and respecting these boundaries will make those times so much easier for everyone.
One of the most important things to remember is to take time out. Enjoy living with your friends, don’t get so wrapped up in work that you end up ignoring them all year. Enjoy the time you have to do movie nights or video game sessions or whatever you enjoy doing. It’s incredibly important to bond!
Until next time! 🙂
As of 9th May 2017 I will officially be finished with my degree. Yes, I know, It’s scary! But what’s even scarier is that the question I’ve been asking myself for the last year will be staring me right in the face: What do I do now? Now I don’t have the cushy support of uni to help me through all the difficult adulting and now I have to actually make it in the big wide world… argh! Not to worry though, I’ve been prepared-ish and I’m willing to offer you some advice on how you can cushion the blow of finishing uni. The earlier you start the better, I know it’s worrying but if you start thinking about your future from day one you can’t go wrong can you? Right…?
One day your student loan will run out (the horror!). So, it’s probably best to start saving asap, for that inevitable moment when you run out of dosh but haven’t found a job yet. Start putting aside a bit every week if you can spare it and it will soon mount up and leave you with a good financial cushion post-uni. Even if you just put your spare change in a moneybox, little by little, it will build up.
At the beginning of third year you should start thinking about applying for jobs or further education (whatever your choice is). With jobs, the more you apply for the better. Apply for as many jobs as you can until you finally find one. Make the most of the careers centre whilst you can. They can help you with CVs and personal statements for MA or PGCEs. Ensure that you take time on your applications, if you rush them or complete them half-heartedly you’ll find you won’t get the positive results you want.
Ever wanted to write a novel? Or put on a play? Or even take up pole dancing? Now’s the best time. That sweet time between the end of your exams and assignments and having to go home for the summer and find a job is the best kind of time! Use your new-found free time to work on projects that will better your future but also make you happy and will feel rewarding. Now you don’t have exams and coursework in the way you can start doing the things you want to. My personal goal is to get writing and to finish all the books I’ve been meaning to read for the last million and a half years!
For most of us we have been in education nearly every year since we were possibly four or five, we deserve a break. Don’t stress yourself out too much, take time to relax and enjoy the short amount of time you have in your student house with your friends Go out, explore the town, have a movie marathon, do everything you wanted to do but didn’t have time to previously because of uni work.