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Don't panic: Introduction

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

Introduction

The following pages exist to give you a good head start - provided you are prepared to do the work.

This wee guide will do one of two things; either it will help you make the most of your potential, or it will make you want to run and hide.

If it is the former, then great, glad we could help.  If it's the latter, then are you sure you read it all the way to the end?  Because that's where we get inspirational and tell you not to worry because everything's going to be fine.  Go read the end part, then let's talk again.

Fourth year in the Psychology/Sociology department was, for us, everything we expected and nothing we could say we were honestly prepared for. It occurred to us that every academic year, a new group of honours students are faced with the same set of issues and uncertainties, so we've tried to put together some of the important things about coping/surviving/winning your final year of undergraduate study. Some of it you'll have already heard (like how important it is to plan ahead), some of it you'll have already suspected (like how, at some point, you might 'hit the wall'), and some things you'll have no idea is coming (like how you need to steal the Magic Key from the Immortal Dragon to advance to the Cloud Kingdom*).

Nonsense aside, we're not going to lie about how hard parts of this year will be, and the amount of effort you're going to have to put in. The following pages exist to give you a good head start – provided you are prepared to do the work. But hopefully, after reading this, you'll have a clearer idea of the extent of the work ahead of you – and where to find help if you need it.

More than once in the course of writing this, we've been tempted to quote a wonderful book called The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. If you haven't read that book, then please take a look at it. It might not be for everyone, but it's a quick read and will make you smile. One of the first things you learn, reading The Hitchhiker's Guide, is perhaps the most important thing to bear in mind:

Don't Panic.

*Not a realistic situation that you will find yourself in

FYI: Some of our wisdom is a bit more subject specific in places, so we've colour-coded these sections to make it a bit clearer.
Points more relevant to psychology students are written by Hope in the pink boxes.
Points more relevant to sociology students are written by Karl in the blue boxes.

We didn't deliberately choose these colours to make a point about oppressive gender stereotypes, it kinda just happened.  Which is interesting in itself.
Or Karl thinks it is anyway.