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Don't panic: Finishing

The Psyc/Soc Student's Guide to Fourth Year by Hope Christie and Karl Johnson

It is perfectly natural to feel completely overwhelmed most of the time, and feel like you're not going to finish

You are not alone.  We'll say it again.  You are not alone..

Look around you, and you'll find countless other people who've survived university or are currently surviving uni, and most of them have gone through the same thing as you. If not the same, then something else (something worse, in all likelihood). Yes, you will be challenged, and at times feel overwhelmed, but try to remember that this is what you signed-up for. It's supposed to be challenging, otherwise it wouldn't be worth doing – and the incredible sense of pride and accomplishment that will greet you on graduation day will far outweigh any negative feeling you had up to that point. 

Sometimes, family and friends may have high expectations of you, but the only person truly putting pressure on you, is you. You're the one sitting in lectures, writing essays, taking exams. It's your work so the most important thing is to own it. It'll be your name on your degree certificate, not anyone else's, so make your peace and be proud of yourself. You should be. You can do this; you will be making it to graduation. We know it may not feel that way right now, but you seriously can do it. A wise lecturer used to always tell us “you didn’t become stupid overnight”, which is very true, and if you’ve made it this far into fourth year, there is no reason on this earth why you can’t complete this year and graduate. 

The university has started running a Masters in Research degree programme, which is usually taken on by some super keen, recently graduated, fourth year psych/soc students (ourselves included). There should be a few this year as well – try and find them, they will be a great help to you. Speak to them about how overwhelmed you are feeling and they will likely smile at you and say they know exactly how you feel. And look where they are! Doing their Masters degree, which we bet at times during their fourth year, they didn’t believe was possible. Our point is, everyone feels like they are not going to make it, but they do. And you will too. Just keep going. 

Something you might not realise by yourself until you’ve completed your undergraduate, is that to feel uncertain about what you know in your subject, to feel challenged and forced into re-evaluating your ideas and approach; these are signs of progress. If you have the capacity to find fault in your theoretical or methodological approach, then you have the ability to find a solution and improve upon your work.

Reconsidering the path you’re on, is still a step in the right direction.

Someone should put that on a t-shirt.