How to get your shit together before you graduate

Well done! You’ve made it to your final year of university! Sometimes, it seems like this feat doesn’t get enough recognition or praise, but you have earned it. However, this isn’t the time to be winding down at the end of your university career; it’s time to be winding up towards your future. Like me, you may be experiencing ‘third-year panic’, questioning your future plans as those around you are getting grad scheme offers, acceptances for postgrad study, or planning their second gap years. But it’s all worth it in the end!

So, while the world seems to be rushing ahead without you, here are a few things you need to do this year to get your shit together.

Go to see your personal tutor

They are there for a reason: they’ve been around the block, and they’ve survived their third-year panic. They know you and your records and are often the best source of advice with regards to your future. Even if you have no idea what you want to do, use them as a springboard for ideas.

Visit your university’s career zone

They can help you set up a fantastic CV, draft cover letters that are guaranteed to get you into an interview, and will help you practise interviews for assessment days for your future careers.

Register on grad job sites. All of them.

Once you’ve drafted a fantastic CV with the help of your career advisors, start applying. You may find yourself interviewing for a job in a field you’d never even considered before. Don’t shut yourself off to these opportunities either. For every one hundred applications, most students will only get invited to an interview four or five times. You have nothing to lose by over-applying.

Update your LinkedIn profile

Its importance may often be swept under the rug, but the site can be a great source of networking where you can connect with other university students and previous employers, as well as with other professionals who work in the field you wish to join.

Now for the sensible financial side of being an adult: rent preparation

You may not know where you will end up after graduation. Whether you will be spending a couple of months at home in the interim or heading straight to your next campus or career, it won’t hurt to be financially prepared. Starting to save now and putting aside one or two months’ worth of expenses (if you can) is a good way to avoid suffering from any surprise costs.

Double check your student overdraft terms

Most overdrafts on student accounts will remain interest-free for at least a year after you graduate; however, if, like me, you’ve dug in quite far during your degree, it won’t hurt to start paying off that overdraft as you start saving. If you want certainty as to your overdraft’s terms, put on your grown-up pants and head over to your bank to ask.

You can apply for a master’s degree right up to your graduation

However, it won’t hurt to start early. Start doing your research: where do you want to be? What is it you want to study? Does your university have special offers, such as scholarships, for those who continue to do their postgrad on the same campus? You may have forgotten or blocked it out from A-levels, but personal statements take time to write, so start thinking now about what it is you’re going to write.

Unsure of what it is you want to do? Start applying for internships

Carrying out an internship in the holidays is the best way to find out whether you wish to continue pursuing a career in that field, or whether you were mistaken in your ideas and need to look elsewhere.

Do your research

When looking to narrow down job applications, find out where it is you want to be or research the places you are considering working in. Research flats to rent, how much the average rent is, what else that town has to offer. After graduation, you will start to build a life, so find an area where you will be happy to do so.

Actually write your dissertation and revise for those end of year exams

Sometimes when considering your future, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and rush ahead, but you still need to get a good degree classification to open more opportunities for you. Enjoy your last months of being an undergrad and make it something to be proud of.

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