So your time to start university is getting closer, and although for you the 3rd year might seem a long way off, it will almost certainly come around much quicker than you ever expected (university has been the quickest 4 years of my life so far!) This blog post is going to be dedicated to my experience of 3rd year so far, and will hopefully offer a few pearls of wisdom for your time at York!
After being on placement for 14 months, and essentially out of education for 18 months, getting back into university life was a bit of a shock to the system. Going from working in a 9-6 job and having my weekends and evenings completely to myself, moving into 3rd year was a big change, largely due to the change in daily structure and the constant work load. Of course it wasn’t all bad, living the student life again in such a great city was exactly what I had hoped it would be, and I was excited to work towards completing the degree that I have put so much time into!
If there is one piece of advice I would give to you when you go into 3rd year (placement or no placement), it would be to try and maintain a 9-5 mentality as much as possible, as it makes keeping on top of work much more manageable and allows you to free up time to enjoy yourself. Before I started my year on placement, I had also been slightly concerned that the majority of my friends were on 3 year courses and would have graduated when I came back to York for my final year. I had nothing to worry about though, as plenty of people from my course/societies were still in York, and having my other friends move away just gave me extra excuses for weekends away to visit them!
At this point, one of the biggest challenges I have faced in 3rd year is the exams that we took in January. Luckily, we only had two modules in our first term, so we were nicely eased back into the university environment, but after 18 months off, the thought if revising wasn’t a pleasant one. However, the tutors and module leaders were very supportive in transitioning back into education, and as the term progressed, I realised that the skills I had gained whilst on placement would be really helpful in navigating the year.
The best tip that I can offer in successfully getting through exams (whether that be in 3rd year or 1st year), would be to always keep on top of the modules. If there is something you don’t understand that has been covered in a lecture, ask your lecturer about it straight away! It’s a great relief when it comes to revising if you already have a good grasp on the content that you are covering. This will be particularly important when it comes to final 3rd year exams, as the number of modules being taken will generally be higher than in any other term. Another great help in 3rd year is if you have good results from 2nd year; it does count for 40% of your final grade! It’s all about getting a good balance of having fun and enjoying university living, but putting in the work required as well.
Another huge aspect of 3rd year is deciding on what to do after graduation (a terrifying thought, I know!). I feel quite lucky in the fact that while on placement, I got a very good idea about what I wanted to do once I was forced into the real world, and that was to get on a graduate scheme at one of the big four accounting firms.
Getting into one of the big four firms (KPMG, Deloitte, EY and PwC) is incredibly competitive, so I started my applications in the September before I came into my 3rd year (seems very early, definitely not uncommon though!). Initially I wasn’t successful with any of the four, but I recently received an email from PwC requesting that they reassess my application; I have just passed the assessment centre and I am currently waiting for my final interview date!
Being turned down for graduate jobs can be quite disheartening, especially if you have your heart set on a particular role/company, but don’t let that get you down! There are hundreds upon hundreds of amazing opportunities out there, it’s just a case of persevering. Equally, if you get to 3rd year and are panicking because you haven’t got a plan for afterwards, it really isn’t a big deal. I have numerous friends who took a year off to decide what it was they wanted to do, using the year to gain a lot of relevant experience, and they have all done incredibly well from it.
So I hope that this blog has been an interesting view into the chaotic but exciting time that is 3rd year, and given you a few things to keep in mind through your time at York. At the end of the day, university is well summed up by that age-old saying: work hard, play hard!
Thanks for reading!