Student Life

Students: What You Wish You’d Been Told About Third Year!!

As my final university year comes to a close, with the triumphs and breakdowns. I think it would be useful to think about what I wish I had been told before I begun my final undergraduate year at university. From triumph to breakdown, I’ve been through it all. Therefore, I feel more than qualified to pass on my wisdom.

Here is a list of things I wish I’d have been told before third year, on how to deal with third year:

Breakdowns are unavoidable, and they happen. You just have to let the emotions out and you’ll feel better.

I know if you are a second year you’ve probably heard the joke about the amount of breakdowns a third year student has, and I bet you think that it is a little extreme! Well, let me tell you I reached my limit, three-four times this year and I’ve heard about other students experiencing more. It happens, and when it does just accept it. You’ve bottled the stress up so much, you’ve built the pressure of the dissertation in your head and you’re attempting to have a life. You have to release it. It’s not conducive to a proper work environment. And I can personally tell you, the emotion may overcome you at a random time when work is not even in front of you. It could be the littlest thing to push you.

You cannot control everything, no matter how organised you are. 

It’s true. You might be the most organised student in the world but, you cannot control third year. The first two years you’ve developed a system, you know when you work best and how you work. But, with all the running around you are bound to get ill. The dissertation is at the back of your mind and it is a constant stresser. And stress is not good for your health-mentally or physically. Which leads me to my next point…

Make time for yourself!

girl runner in reflective jacket
My Running Time

I run. That is my me-time. You have to find an activity in third year solely for you. Something you like to do, that helps you because whilst friends are great. You need to have time to yourself as we all work differently so someone elses early finish, is another persons late start. But don’t place pressure on yourself because of this! You work out whats best for you.

Don’t place all your energy into producing a dissertation. It is just one module!

The dissertation is one module, and it is worth twenty credits. And I KNOW it has a huge build up to it but, there are other assignments who deserve as much attention, as the dissertation does. And each assignment is just as important as the dissertation. I worked one assignment at a time, and I achieved firsts in every module in the beginning of third year. 

But don’t forget the dissertation either…

Black Cover, Sheffield Hallam Logo Channel Bound Dissertation
My Bound Dissertation

While, you shouldn’t place all your energy into the dissertation, you shouldn’t forget about it either. It is a huge undertaking research and you need to work out what is best for you. Keep in contact with your tutors, they are there to help and guide you and the worst thing you could do is not utilise the resource that is available to you. The tutors want to see you succeed!

Make a schedule- and stick to it. 

You don’t want to be someone who does all the work in their final weeks for the dissertation. It is a year around module, and so use the year constructively. Set yourself tasks and complete them on schedule. And again, if you work well with deadlines then inform your tutor. They can set you deadlines for completing work, which keeps you on target. So, I found all my books and resources, and episodes within first semester for my dissertation. I completed notes on it by the end of January, due to a few hiccups I encountered- getting the flu for the first time in my life. And then my tutor set me a deadline for a completed draft, which I had to push by a week due to illness and injury. But, I still had three weeks till the deadline to do any alterations.

Use the university services available to you!

You may find yourself struggling and that is okay. There are university services available to you, through student support or the library. So, if you are unsure about referencing then sign up to a library session and grab the help you need. If you see a support tutor every week due to a learning issue, then make sure to show them your work. Sometimes, you look at something so much, the words begin to jumble and it just takes another set of eyes to pick up on good points or issues with your work. But, it is not just the people employed by university. Did you know that aside from you, the harshest critic of your work will most likely be a student so, tell your friends you would like them to read work and use them. For the most part, it is likely they are in the same position. But, remember to tell them to give you a truthful opinion, if it needs changing it needs changing.

It’s time to start thinking about the future…scary!

It may be a scary thought but, third year is about looking to the future and beginning to make life choices. Now, not everyone knows what they want to do and you know what that is okay. However, you need to have some plan so, you can begin planning your year around the next move in your life. I have decided I would like to work for the next year, before returning to gain a Masters degree. So, I have a plan. But, that won’t stop me from applying for jobs. Set up as many paths as possible and then you can choose which one you will take a journey down, as in the future you can always decide to change direction and jump onto another path.

Finally…Have Fun!!!

University isn’t the only thing in your life, and whilst third year may be stressful and take over your life it shouldn’t. Go and have fun. You don’t have to work constantly to get good grades, so meet with friends, go out and have fun. Or use spare time to develop yourself, it is as simple as setting up a blog or learning a new language or planning to travel. There are a million options in life, and you can pick from them all. Just have fun. For most of you, it’ll be the last year and although university is where we make the friends we’ll probably keep for life, go and have fun.






Student Life

A Round Up

So, on my blog I started talking about a module I’d been taking at University: Media Tech. I wrote about it for two reasons if I am honest. Firstly, it wasn’t like any other module I’d ever taken and so, as a way to understand what I was learning I thought blogging about it would help. It is like the saying you hear throughout education.

“If you want to understand, then teach it to someone else and you’ll see how easy it is to learn…”  

And secondly, it seemed interesting enough to add on my blog because, it is diary-like, I wanted to show my interest and my struggle. But, as assignments wore on I had less time to blog which led to me dropping the ball…sorry. So, I’ve decided to write a conclusion to the module to finish my little blogging post off which, with my nature, leaving something half-finished is annoying!

So, the last thing I wrote about was FRED week and I could summarize each class but, that will take ages but, if you want to see the assignments I completed then please click here  and you’ll be taken to my blog posts but, I will reflect on the assignments as well!

The Assignments- the first assignment, I can admit was hard and stressful and with other personal issues-draining. But, I managed to complete the assignment which I was very happy with overall. Because if I’m honest I thought I’d fail this module after I sat through the first class. My brain was over-loaded. We had to create a working prototype, then a presentation to sell our working prototypes, and then two blog posts- one on reflection and the other on the product- again selling it to the world. Alongside, that we had other assignments for other modules which were equally as stressful as I had to work with new people, and write in ways I never had before. We created ShakeItUp with the idea that different cultures and countries could mix around the world, joining forces to play drinking games or create mocktails. There were times when I felt like giving up but, it made me believe in my ability to create something and see that I could do more than I thought I was capable of!

Now the second assignment was due after Christmas and we just received the marks for it. I was pleasantly surprised with what I achieved. But, I did really enjoy the assignment. I chose to write about Hybrid Cloud Computing for a couple of reasons- firstly as a self-admitted untechy person I wanted to learn about something I knew nothing of, but it had to be interesting and we all have cloud software. As I found a network of articles, I believed I could write this assignment. And I did. My parents read over most of my work- I hope they learnt something- to tell me if my work makes sense. My aim is if they can understand the idea, then it is something I will submit. It was the easier of the two assignments I attempted over Christmas and at times I struggled, and at one point I cried! (my computer stopped responding, closed everything down and I had to rewrite about 900 words as it went to the save where I had my introduction written and nothing else). Now, there is some irony-maybe I should have backed up to the cloud! Or on a memory stick. It taught me something new, it challenged me and that is why I enjoyed the assignment.

The Module- I’m going to be honest, it was not my favourite module-moral panics took that spot- and at times I felt like a breakdown was needed but, I stuck by the module and my guns-raising my issues- AND I’m happy I did. There were time I was lost, I had a week off due to illness and came back thinking I was in an alien world but, there were times where I was proud of myself because I had grasped a theory, or achieved something I didn’t think was possible. And I guess, that is what a module is supposed to do! It’s supposed to push you further, otherwise why am I paying this money. Would I have preferred this module in a less stressful year-not dissertation year? Yes, it wouldn’t have stressed me out as much. You see it is impossible to say this module was bad, it could have been better but, I can see the merit of learning about technology and how this applies to Media. Its an interesting perspective, and I’m glad I took it despite all the stress because it pushed me, it forced myself to learn in a new way-although I like my old way better- and although I dragged my feet, I enjoyed the second assignment immensely.

Here comes my funny little anecdote…

So, my dad was reading my Hybrid Cloud Computing work and I speak about the Panopticon- a symbolic representation of surveillance society…you’ll have to read my blog posts to understand it. Anyway, he read that part about a surveillance society and bluntly announced- and that’s why I don’t like Cloud technology, you don’t know who is looking and what they read. Let me make myself clear, despite this my dad is the person in my family who wants to understand how his tech works? Well, I find out and then write instructions but, then I also sit and explain to him how it works…

To read about hybrid cloud computing click here, here, and here!

Student Life

Final Year: Week Three

So, this week was an interesting week of classes. Although, I’d heard of some of the theorists and ideas before, I enjoyed learning more about them in detail and how they applied to this semesters modules. Also, some assignments became clearer making myself feel more confident about completing them. Anyway, that is the overview of my week so, its time to get into detail about all three as well as discuss my dissertation progress.

Media Technologies entailed reading about McLuhan, a rock star theorist known for providing revolutionary ideas about the media. McLuhan believes that the medium is the message however, that does not mean he completely disregards the content of the media either. He’s famously known in corporations throughout America as the guy who told companies they didn’t understand media at all and explained it to them before being hired. His main idea is that everything should be considered as ‘the media’ for example, the desk I’m writing this blog post as is a media, an extension of self. He’s interesting to read because he talks in metaphors so, while difficult to dissect what is being said, if you understand him it’s revolutionary. However, he is largely criticised for speaking in metaphors as they deem him confusing and to general when speaking on the media. It was definitely an interesting and enjoyable week.

Moral Panics saw us looking at the ‘Attributional Model of Moral Panics’ created by Goode & Ben-Yehuda. Their module is similar to the work of Cohen and ‘The Processual Model’ however, while Cohen’s model is flexible and non-linear, their model is meant to be followed strictly and in that order in order for something to be deemed a Moral Panic. Now, we have looked at both I have to say I much prefer the work of Cohen, as his approach is not linear, it doesn’t have an order to it. Overall, it was a recap on some of the stuff I’d heard in sociology but it was interesting to get more in-depth instead of scratching the surface, as we did in A-Level. Next week is the turn of the video nastie which I’m looking forward too. It’s good that we are getting into the case studies and can apply the models more freely. Overall, I’m excited to get into more detail now and enjoying my elective (chosen) module.

Finally, Globalisation and The Media moved from Globalisation theories to analysing the media in the Global South, specifically Africa. Firstly, we went over key terms which will be useful for a semester two module as well as this, surrounding colonialism and imperialism. The African media development has been uneven and under-developed in the sense that they do not use the newest technology. Also, there are key factors that impact upon the media, the first mentioned above but the others pertain to government, the countries development overall and their economy. On top of this, we got a screening it looked at the history of Africa suggesting they had swapped a racial apartheid for an economical one which, the documentary proved in my eyes. The reading was interesting it looked at the development of the tabloid, and an additional reading looked at how media was used within the Rwandan Genocide- a radio being the media. Out of the two, I really enjoyed the second reading however we didn’t discuss it due to only myself and one other person being the only ones to read it. It was an interesting week and we’ll be looking at Latin America.

Overall, I’ve been enjoying getting into classes more now that the beginning theories that we need to know have passed. Assignments are coming up so, it’ll be hard to juggle everything on top of my dissertation however, news on the dissertation front. I have my first meeting on Tuesday and am looking forward to discussing it more.

Student Life

Induction Week-Third Year Begins

I began third year this week. All week I’ve been attending university fairs and signing up to societies, activities etc while anxiously waiting for my induction lecture. It’s daunting to find yourself in the final year at university. It’s finally time to decide what we want to do. A theme within our induction lecture, alongside the offer of a trip to Berlin and finding out about the changes in our course.

I’ve seen the university change a lot over the last few years; new subjects introduced, changes in assessments etc and it’s a good thing. Three years ago, it was just beginning and we were the test year in essence. Its improved so much but as the lecturer talked about all the new things it left me wondering why our year seemed to be the test year for most things throughout all of education. Just a thought, it may be nice to not have the changes always begin with us.

I know there have been other changes in other years and the course keeps getting better but as I’m a third year it makes you wonder what you’ll miss out on. All I know, I’m ready to get back and started now we’ve had a long summer and it’s just time to start again.

Lets see how the first week of actual subject lectures go… it’s going to be interesting is all I know.