Ah, final year. Where do I begin?
Final year doesn’t feel like anything – you’re going through the same motions you’ve been through before, but this time there’s a graduation to look forward to. I found that the jump from first year to second year was really tough, but this year, it’s just the same old. In a way, it’s better than second year because only one of four of your modules is compulsory, so you’re studying modules that you’re genuinely interested in.
This year, I’ve chosen to do Intellectual Property Law, Commercial Law, and write a dissertation, on top of the compulsory Equity & Trusts module. As law students, we’re not required to write a dissertation; we can choose to take it in place a ‘proper’ module. Unsurprisingly, there are only about 10 of us writing a dissertation out of 350 people, but I find that having the dissertation is nice because we get to choose our own topic and it’s essentially just a really big essay. My dissertation is on how prisons are represented in film (think Shawshank Redemption, or BBC Panorama documentaries) and how that affects public attitudes towards prisons and prisoners. It’s still a working title in progress, so I’ll definitely be writing a blog post later about my dissertation and, at the end of the year, I’ll list some tips I’ve got!
The one thing I really noticed that’s different for me is that I’ve never felt so focussed in my life. My motivation levels are so high right now, and I didn’t even proactively do anything to get them up there. I’m still figuring out how and why this fire suddenly appeared under my bum, but I’m not about to complain, as it’s making me seriously get stuff done!
I’ve cut down on extra-curriculars this year to free up some time for grad job applications, and it’s been treating me quite well; it was so liberating! I feel like I can just spend my time doing things that are conducive to my life and my future.
Now, I’m sure not everyone feels the same way I do, but that doesn’t mean you’re behind in any way. Maybe you’re planning on taking the year out, or you don’t know what you want to do as a career yet. That’s completely fine! Take everything at your own pace. It’s easy to compare yourself to everyone else in your year group and feel like you’re behind. You’re most likely to only hear about the people who are doing well or have a direction, because they’re the only ones that share that! People who have no idea what they want to do aren’t too vocal about it, but it’s important to take it at your own pace. It’s your life! This is my 6th year of university, so I’m just itching to be done with education. I just want to start real life already! So, I’m taking it one day at a time right now, and not beating myself up as much for not getting as many things done as I had planned to do. As long as I meet all my deadlines, I’m not going to waste my time worrying and stressed out about it. In any case, I’ve got so many people I can lean on, like my friends, certain academics, and the Careers services.
Overall, though, I’m really enjoying final year and I’m quite surprised by how much I’m genuinely enjoying it. As you can see, I’ve taken a very chilled approach to it all, yet I still have this fire sitting under my bum. I think it’s a pretty good balance, but we’ll see how the scales tip closer to my dissertation deadline and final exams and essays.