It was great to be back home and away from the stresses and strains of the third year workload over Christmas. I was able to take some time to just do whatever I wanted, which gave me some much needed time to recuperate. I met my girlfriend in Derby in my first year here in 2012 and we always go back home for Christmas each year and so spend it separately, but this year I travelled to see her on Christmas Eve and spent a few days with her there which was lovely. I relaxed, ate too much, had some really lazy days and generally didn’t do much.
Since the turn of the New Year though, it’s been back to action stations. I began sifting through journal articles for my dissertation and completing other bits of work to get them out of the way. I returned to the Leicester Mercury in early January for a second week of work experience there and was understandably very busy.
I came back to Derby on 16th January and since haven’t stopped. The importance of my final semester at uni has really hit home with me. I have only got a mere three months until it’s all over for me. It’s a thought that brings with it mixed emotions. I’ll be glad to finish uni and, fingers, toes and everything else crossed, come out the other side with a good degree, but I’ll be devastated to be leaving behind the uni lifestyle and everything else that comes with it.
More immediately, I have a lot of work that needs doing. A 5,000 word dissertation, two assignments for my Sports Journalism module, five multimedia news stories, four online news stories and an essay to go with it. The more I say it out loud, the more daunting it becomes.
It is at this time that the wheels can really come off for some people, I’ve seen it a number of times during my time here. They come back after a long Christmas break and can’t seem to get out of first gear at a time when they really need to be coasting in fifth. It is hard, especially with the dark mornings and nights, to find motivation sometimes, but you have got to dig really deep down and pull it out of the bag.
As you’ll know when you complete your first semester, the months just disappear. It’s crucial that you crack on at this time of the year or you’ll be left with work coming out of your ears and tears streaming down your face come deadline day. This is also why it’s vitally important to set yourself up well in the first semester by getting into the habit of getting work done as soon as possible rather than when you absolutely have to.
In the first term this year, I’ve done copious research for my dissertation and set up various interviews for my news pieces, as well as conducting a few before I went home. It’s this kind of forward planning that can make or break you, especially in the final year of your degree. It really doesn’t do any harm to set yourself up well by making it the norm from your first year though. It means that you won’t have to lock yourself away from the world for days on end as deadlines approach. That’s not what you want to be doing, trust me. This is coming from someone who’s had to do it on one occasion. Never again!
There a phrase you’ve surely heard time and time again at school; “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail”. It’s never more true than when you come to uni, I promise you.