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Don't panic: Student advice

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

Student advice

Just in case you've reached the end of this guide and thought we've made everything up, we rounded up some previous fourth year students to ask them to impart some of their wisdom onto you.  Yes, they are real people; and no, we did not pay them to say these things...

I think the best advice I received at the beginning of 4th year was to keep at it! It’s a hard year there is no doubt about it, but by sticking with it they will get there! Also if students know they pretty much have to cancel their life for the period end of January to beginning March then that might help! The last couple months are the hardest but it will all come together! Also I wish I hadn’t been so stressed at the beginning as the first few months I made more difficult for myself I can see that now." -- Kellie, Sociology

I wish I'd have been prepared for how hard and busy the last semester was and that I didn’t take on as much outside uni and stretch myself so thin. I also got really anxious and it got worse throughout the year so being reminded to look after myself and take time away from it too. Being super organised was handy too (even if your friends do slag you off for having a spreadsheet!) – Hannah, Psychology

I would mostly just say that you need to prepare your time better. In third year you have loads of modules but I think you underestimate how long you spend merely gathering data for a dissertation. It really cuts into the time that you spend on your modules. I honestly didn’t realise I’d be spending whole days in the lab with only one or two people actually agreeing to come to take part in the study. So allocate loads of extra time for that. Maybe make really good use of the sign up website for second years. And also allocate some extra time for yourself in case things go wrong. Sometimes unexpected things come up, so make sure you’ve given yourself the time to do all of this, and more.” – Daniela, Psychology

Most Important piece of advice is through all the stress, enjoy it!!” – Kirsten, Sociology

Pretty much writing off January to April and not taking on too much outside of uni during your 4th year cause you just don’t have enough time. Also what I found helped me with my dissertation was talking about it a lot, even to those external to uni really helped. The more I talked it through and bounced ideas around with other people really helped bring it to life. Also don’t be afraid to contact external organisations for a starting point/help with your dissertation, the charities I contacted were super helpful and really saved me some work by pointing me in the right direction.” – Carolann, Sociology

I basically found not taking on extra things outside uni helped (basically having no life in general and no social life!) I’d say one thing that really helped me was doing work in uni which I never done before, but some people would obviously find doing work easier at home. Also don’t feel alone when you are super stressed, there’s your peers to rant to as everyone is in the same boat and a great support network from a few lecturers. I went to the gym a lot to relieve stress!” – Robyn, Psychology