Third Year Life, Graduate Schemes and (Sort of Helpful) Advice

Ella Bramhall

The third year of undergraduate studies is one of the most exciting and challenging parts of any degree. Here Ella Bramhall discusses her thoughts and experiences of this milestone so far and offers some extremely useful tips to fellow students.

Being a third-year student is one of the most challenging but exciting periods of your life. With the end in sight, the year rolls quickly along. Days are spent reading books, composing lists and writing essays. The late-night drinking and partying in the city of York comes to a close, and the sticky floors of Salvo’s are happily left behind.

I think it’s safe to say that my third year of university so far has been the most hectic of them all. Alongside writing my dissertation and completing other modules, I have to balance other commitments such as a part-time work, volunteering, and applying for graduate jobs for next year. Now that’s one to note; graduate scheme applications honestly take hours!

I began to have a bit of a google at the start of the academic year and apply for a couple of things that sounded interesting. Numerous hours later, after drafting and editing CVs, Cover letters, and introductory questions, I was finally starting to get somewhere. After going to make yet another coffee, the reality of applying for graduate jobs was finally beginning to dawn on me; I am going to have to schedule some time for this. Bearing in mind that I have undertaken an English Literature degree, I have completed numerical reasoning tests, pyrometric tests and situational reasoning. These applications are pretty tough. The competition is fierce, every employer wants work experience and a CV tailored to their specific company and requirements. But don’t give up! The tenacity, ambition, and perseverance of the students who keep trying will be the ones who are successful. And as York St John students, I can safely say tenacity is something that we have an abundance of.

Apart from the minor stress of applying for jobs, third year is really quite enjoyable. My dissertation is still in its early stages, but I have chosen to write about African-American Literature and motherhood which I am really excited to write about. The other modules I have taken are also engaging which is fab for class discussions and to get people talking. If there is any piece of advice a literature student can give, it is for people to contribute to class discussions as there is nothing worse than a silent classroom! The timetable moving into third year is strange due to the absence of an extra module (2 instead of 3). As the dissertation module is independently time managed, it can be tough to get started and not fill the day Black Friday shopping or brunching with friends (I obviously do nothing of the sort). I find that organising my time through a well-planned diary and good old daily list is the way forward, but your tutor is also a huge help.

This year so far has made me reflect on my entire university experience, and what I could do in my final few months to get the most out of York St John before I graduate. Having decided on the career path I now want to pursue, I have recently started a blog in addition to writing for the ‘Words Matter’ blog. I have also started volunteering at a local community café, and my next goal is to get some help from the ILS to help improve my IT skills. This year I want to achieve all I can achieve at YSJ, and take every experience and opportunity that both university and life throws at me. Life as a dissertation student is filled with positive challenges and uplifting experiences. If I can offer any advice at all it is this; ‘take the bull by the horns’, and believe in yourself as you are more than ready!

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