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Sarunicka

November 2nd, 2021

The Significance of Process: My Experience of Third Year So Far

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Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Sarunicka

November 2nd, 2021

The Significance of Process: My Experience of Third Year So Far

0 comments

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

As we go into our first reading week of the 2021/2022 academic year, I feel now is a good time as any to reflect on the year so far. Even though it still doesn’t feel real in a lot of ways that I’m into my final year at university, these past 5 weeks have made it clear that I am definitely not still in second year!

It is often talked about how there is a leap from A Level to Uni or even first year to second year but I don’t know if it’s just me but there doesn’t seem to be much talk about the leap from second year to third year/ your penultimate year to the ultimate one. Let me tell you, there is definitely one!! Though this might not be everyone’s experience since your course, the teaching format and the timings of your exams all play a role, I hope sharing some of the differences I have found will still be helpful for making some of you more aware of and prepared for this leap.

1) Reading Amount

Last year I had two essential readings per module per week. This year this has increased to three per module (for the most part). Unmistakably COVID had a role to play in this difference but regardless, not only has the number of readings increased this year but the number of pages/chapters to read per reading has also increased. Reading therefore takes more time than ever.

 

2) Difficulty of Reading

Not only has the amount of reading increased but the difficulty too. Of course, this will vary between courses but it is fair to assume that, regardless of the course you do, the difficulty of the work set will increase in your final year. This means that readings not only take more time because they are longer but also because they are more challenging to comprehend.

 

3) Amount of independent work

Another big adjustment I found was the level of independent work I had to do. This seems strange at first because one of the most defining features of uni is the shift towards more independent work. However, as with everything else, it is upped in third year.

A large reason for this is obviously your dissertation. A dissertation is an extended piece of work you produce during your final year of university. What it entails differs across courses, but most expect you to identify a research question, conduct a literature review and produce a piece of work that contributes in some way to a subfield within your discipline.

Though we are guided throughout our dissertation, the majority of the work and (significantly) when it is done, is down to you. We have deadlines throughout which are like signposts to ensure we are doing something but on a week to week basis, it is down to us to make time to work on our dissertations. This in itself is a challenge as more pressing deadlines often can cause your dissertation to be neglected. It is fair to say then that final year really does test how far your time management and independent learning skills have come.

 


 

So, it is clear to see that third year is really no joke. However, the reason I write this blog is not because I want to scare or overwhelm any of you. Instead, what I have learnt and want you to take away is that third year maybe a step up, but it is an entirely natural one you’re going to be prepared for! Here’s why:

  1. Readings and independent work have been the foundations of learning at university. By the time you’re in last year, you’ve already had enough time and experience to understand how and what the learning process at university is like.
  2. You’re familiar with the big themes and concepts underlying your course and so a lot of thinking comes more instinctively.

By sharing my experience, I hope those of you reading this are reminded of the significance of process. It is only by doing the skills correctly and consistently in first and second year that you feel ready enough and make the smoothest transition into the demands made of you in third year. Remember that this doesn’t mean you’re no longer supported or don’t have the resources available to you to be guided throughout the journey. All I’m saying is that seeing the bigger picture and putting the most effort you can in first and second year will prove to be an enormous benefit in third year. Professors often say that…

“You should look at uni as a three/four year journey rather than as isolated years.”

Sew the seeds in these years so you can reap the rewards in third year!

About the author

Sarunicka

Posted In: Student life | Student Life: Advice | Study: Undergraduate

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