One year left? Listen up!

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Photograph: Felipe Holanda

For most current second year students, the last year at Lancaster fast approaches. Many of us will be anxious about the thought of our dissertations; wistful, perhaps, of ourselves two years ago when we still had 3 years here yet to begin; scared, because time has gone so fast, and the ominous “REAL WORLD” is grinning at us from twelve months away. It’s not all bad though, as the infamously difficult second year is out the way, and there’s still one year left to complain about the ongoing building works on campus. With the current third years getting ready for Grad Ball, graduation and goodbyes, here is some of their advice about how to make the most of your last year in Lancaster.

Say yes and don’t stress

“My advice for making the most of your time left in Lancaster is just to say yes to things – at Lancaster we get so many cool opportunities to do stuff and you really can’t say yes to enough! And generally just trying to relax and take deep breaths and not completely implode when thinking about life after graduation, as everything will work out in the end.” – Ellie Vowles

Get out of bed and go

“I know this sounds lame, but I’d say go to every lecture and seminar (especially if you love your course). You’re paying a lot of money for a great resource that you won’t be able to afford without student finance in the future, and also because tutors sometimes take your attendance into account when they mark your work.” – Abigail Davies

Snap, schedule, society-away and read

Photograph everything as you forget so much. Schedule time in just for you and time for your friends. Make most of societies before third year (first years pay heed to this, but second years, remember to make time for societies in third year as well!). And DO THE READING! – Edward Cave and the road-tripping Geographers

Enjoy yourself (with a little pragmatism, research, and organisation)

“I would suggest getting on top of your academic work as soon as possible. With things like dissertations and other longer projects, it can be tempting to leave it until just a few weeks before the deadline. Getting researching and writing early ensures you will not have so much to do when your final deadline comes around. Secondly, be pragmatic when deciding commitments like extra-curricular activities and part-time jobs. It is definitely possible to balance these things with your degree so don’t just drop them all when third year comes around, but if you’re feeling stressed and under pressure or your grades are suffering then it might be an idea to back off these other activities and start focussing entirely on your degree. One other worthwhile use of your time is researching and thinking about what you might do after university – whether it’s a graduate job or a postgraduate course, thinking about these things early on in third year ensures you will be in a better position to go straight into a job or masters’ once you have finished your undergraduate degree. Finally, make sure you enjoy yourself. If this is your final year at university, you should want it to be one which you look back on fondly, not just with memories of essay writing in the library at three in the morning.” – Jack Perry

Get travelling; your grades are in the bag

“If you live quite far from uni (for example, I live in Kent), try and see as much of the North of England as possible while you’re at Lancaster. I’ve spent as much time this year as possible trying to travel. Second year was for internships and volunteering, but third year for me was all about exploring and travelling (I’m currently in Rome after finishing my exams, so I haven’t limited my travels to just England either!). Also just to relax and know you’ve got 50% of your grade in the bag after second year, and not to stress yourself out over third year and let yourself enjoy it – it’s a bit of a step up but if you did well in second year you’ll be cruising through third.” – Rachel Hughes

We’re so lucky to be at Lancaster. Here’s to current students, be it those leaving, those with a year left, or you first years who have all the fun to come: all I can wish on behalf of SCAN is an enormous good luck to you all. I’m not going to say ‘live every day like it’s your last’, because I don’t want to induce vomit, but take it from these departing third years: appreciate our university and the time you have here left. It’s the kind of place where you don’t know what you have until it’s gone… ah, screw it. Have that one. Lancaster gives life to these empty clichés.