Conquering ‘The Final Year Panic’

You’re a first year and someone asks you what you want to do with your life, you tell them it doesn’t matter you have absolutely ages to decide that, years in fact! But then, all of a sudden, you’ve started your final year and you can’t just shrug off this question anymore, people expect you to know.

For some, the ‘Final Year Panic’ may have resulted in signing up for ten societies in Freshers’ week, determined to make the most of your time in Nottingham, going on all the club nights or just becoming increasingly worried about what will happen after you finish university.

Whether you like it or not final year will come to an end. However, if you start thinking about the options after university early on this can help relieve the worry about finishing university and allow you to make the most out of your final year. Here are some ideas to help you prepare for finishing university:


Graduate job?

“You may feel like you’re the only person in the world who’s not entirely sure what job they want to do, but believe me you’re not.”

Balancing graduate job applications and final year work is a lot, but if you keep on top of everything and manage your time well it’s definitely possible. You may feel like you’re the only person in the world who’s not entirely sure what job they want to do, but believe me you’re not. Looking through The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers is a great way to start and see what might interest you. The University of Nottingham also has a careers service that can be an extremely helpful resource; they hold drop in sessions every week that can be used to discuss your CV and career plans.

Remember, accepting a job offer doesn’t mean that you’re signing your life away. If you give something a go and realise it’s not the job for you, you’re not committed to staying there – you’re allowed to change your mind!

Don’t want to leave university?

If you love learning and want to carry on your studies, or you just want to prolong the university lifestyle, further study might be the path for you. A Master’s, Law Conversion or PGCE course are all popular options. Competition can be high and applications often close early, especially for funding, so the earlier you start looking into this the better. Talking to a lecturer who studies in the field you’re interested in can be a good place to start.

Alternatively, if you are still unsure about what job you want, it’s not unheard of for someone to find a job in Nottingham and stay living in Lenton for another year. Earning money and living the university lifestyle without the pressures of university work can be a great breather after all those years of hard work.


Gap year?

“Get that travel bug out of your system before you settle down for a life of 9-5.”

Having been in education since the age of four no one can blame you for wanting a year out before starting real adult life. Get that travel bug out of your system before you settle down for a life of 9-5. Once you’re in full-time employment this may no longer be a viable option for you. This may be one of the only times for you to see the sights you’ve always wanted to see!

University is the perfect buffer between teenage and adult life. These three years of your life have been full of meeting new people and taking in new experiences. If you’ve loved that experience the thought that you’re in your final year is daunting. The idea of not living within minutes of your best friends, going to Crisis on a Wednesday and being hungover for your lecture on a Thursday, or trekking up Derby Road after paying something ridiculous for Pringles from Sainsbury’s is all rather overwhelming.

There are so many options available for what you could do next, and if you’re not successful in getting a graduate job now or getting onto your chosen Master’s course try not to panic, things will work out! Even if that means moving home or getting a part-time job for a year after university while you decide what you want to do with your life.

Do the research now, check application deadlines for things that you’re interested in, keep your options open and remember, avoid the ‘Final Year Panic’! 

Zoe Moore


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