Third year is when the hard work begins, although you are no longer going blind on the highway and kind of know what you are doing its all more important now. When producing your degree classification, they take 20% of your overall third year grades and 80% from fourth year. You’ll be thinking, its only 20% what’s the big deal? That 20% can save your grades if you are given your worst type of assessment in fourth year. Take it from me I wish I had pushed myself more in third year as I got hit with a VIVA (verbal exam with no notes) in fourth year and it was horrific.
I hope I’ve not scared you; third year is very enjoyable too. You know what you’re doing, you’ve had two years to prepare and understand your favourite study techniques (unless you’re a DE). From our experience we got to choose a module in third year, a word of advice, do not select a subject based on the name, read the information first as you might have signed up for something you don’t like. Choose the one that YOU like the most, regardless of your pals’ option, remember that studying something you don’t like is a pain and is worse when someone else chose it for you. Don’t do it to yourself.
Being a direct entrant straight from college was overwhelming. You realise the differences between college and uni lecturers. I had to keep reminding myself that I was now at uni, and it was supposed to be harder. Making some friends really helped as even though most of them had been there since first year they were in the same boat and were finding it hard. The adjustment period from transitioning didn’t end until the second semester in fourth year. I know what you’re thinking; how could it have taken so long to adjust? Third year went by so fast, the year started in October then I blinked, and it was Christmas, then it was April, and third year was done. The reason I’m telling you all this is that yes it was overwhelming and yes, I cried a lot, but it goes by so fast when it’s over you’ll be thinking “it wasn’t even that bad, I was so dramatic!” All I’m saying is don’t give up just because you are finding the adjustment hard, if you throw yourself into the work and into uni life, you’ll do great, and the year will fly by.
If you have the option to study abroad on an exchange for part of the semester, there is only one thing to say: YES! I (Bianca) was able to go on an exchange to Helsinki, Finland (it was meant to be Melbourne, Australia but Miss Rona got in the way). QMU has partnerships with universities based in America, Canada and many European countries such as Germany or the Netherlands. Try not to be discouraged to accept an exchange semester if you think you can’t afford it as there are options including scholarships which frequently go unused! Being on an exchange gives you a moment to realise the endless possibilities of being in a new country by yourself, knowing you can do whatever and be whoever you want. Having an opportunity to learn, travel and meet people from another country reminds you how we as people are so different yet so alike. Studying if a different university will give you a different perspective on your studies and future. Your grades don’t matter while on an exchange, if you’re passing each module, you are fine! I hope my sales pitch convinces you to go, I would recommend to anyone to jump on the chance to study abroad, in the end you have nothing to lose, just do it!
Another thing that is important to pay attention to in third year is the research methods module. This module is setting you up for writing your dissertation, think about which you prefer quantitative or qualitative, think about the language used and think about research ethics as you need ethical approval for your dissertation. If you are doing an exchange semester, make sure to ask QMU about research methods, I (Bianca) went on an exchange and had to cram in the full module while starting my dissertation as the module was carried out in the semester I was away. It made the dissertation process a lot more stressful than it had to be if I was able to study research methods in third year. (We did talk with lecturers about getting this changed so fingers crossed they manage to!) NOTE [from lecturer] – yes, this is changing to an online module, so you can access this any time anywhere in the semester in 3rd year.