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Finishing Your Degree: Work Hard, Play Hard

When you ask university graduates to recite their favourite memories of university life it is unlikely that they will recall the time spent at the library, writing their dissertation or studying for their final exams. Although the pressure from parents, lecturers, and your peers may seem overwhelming in this final stage, it is important to take time to enjoy the remainder of your student life. As boring as it may seem, getting a good degree is the main reason for going to university in the first place so balancing your social life with your academic life is the key to success. Here is a list to guarantee that you work hard, and party hard(er). 

1)      Keep calm and carry on

You may have got some results back from papers and exams that have you questioning your ability to get the grade you want, and even a degree at all. It is very uncommon for a student not to question their academic capability once in a while, so it is important to realise that you are not alone.  Don’t look at that one slightly disappointing grade and suddenly jump to the conclusion that you are going to fail everything, not graduate, and never get a job for the rest of your life. You will. Take this opportunity as a way of learning from past mistakes and start strategising for the new semester.


2)      Plan, Plan and Plan again

Since we began writing essays in secondary school we have always been told to make a plan. Teachers don’t make us do it for their benefit but for ours. Invest in a diary or calendar and begin by writing down deadlines, birthdays, important events, nights out you just can’t miss and anything else you consider imperative. By marking it all down you will suddenly feel in control of your life which will ultimately help you with your stress and time management. 


3)      Begin practising for that job

Many final year students famously have a ridiculously small amount of university contact time, sometimes leaving them with five-day weekends. First semester you may have used this time to go out, recover from hangovers and catch-up with your favourite television shows. This is not to say that you can’t still do this but why not begin looking at your week days like a 9 to 5 job? Not only will this prepare you for the real world, it will also enable you to get the grades you know that you deserve. If first semester taught us anything it is that time flies by very quickly: you really don’t want to be left with two weeks at the end to do your dissertation. 


4)      Exercise

After focusing on your time management you will actually find that the day offers more hours than you may previously have experienced. By getting up at 9am instead of 1pm you have added vital time to your day allowing you to not only focus more on your work but to help you socially and physically. Go for a run, do a fitness DVD or get down to the gym. Even just half an hour of exercise a day will increase your serotonin levels making you feel happier and more motivated. By mixing this exercise with a healthy diet you will begin noticing higher levels of energy from the get go, and a positive change will create positive results: physically, mentally, and academically.


5)      Hang out with your friends

By working all day every day you start to become like a ticking-time-bomb. It is humanly impossible to remain motivated and sane if you don’t allow yourself the time to relax and enjoy being a student. If you work hard during the day there is no reason why you can’t have fun at night. They say you meet life-long friends at university so take this time to go out or just hang out with the people who have shared this experience with you. One day you will look back and reminisce on the good times and you don’t want to regret not making the most of it. 

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Allie Pinder


Allie is a fourth year American Studies student, who returned from a year abroad studying at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she joined the Illinois Zeta Chapter of Pi Beta Phi Sorority. She is the Social Secretary of the AmeriCan Society at Nottingham, enjoys travelling, and has a tiny obsession with the Lion King. 
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