Surviving as a Third Year

The Struggle to Balance Study, Work, and a Social Life

The final year at university is the most important year. This is the year where you finally have to do that individual research project that can sway your final mark from a 2:2 to 1st class honour. However, how do you manage to do this, as well as other uni work, a part-time job, and a social life?

I am aware that everybody's work life and university timetable will be different, but you will find something that suits you eventually. This is my top tips for managing your final year.

1) Six Hours a Day Study

One thing I found to be incredibly useful is dedicating roughly six hours a day to your studies. For example, if I was to have a lecture from 10 AM- 12 AM, I will stay on campus from 9AM-3pm for 10 AM- 4 PM. Being on campus for this long allows me to finish my notes on the lecture and use university resources to assist me with the research project.

However, you don't need to stay in the library or even on campus. You can decide to continue your studies at home, around friends, or in coffee shops. I found that dedicating roughly six hours of study gives me plenty of time to do a section of my work which allows me to plan out my work better.

2) No Study Weekend

I work weekends and commute to and from the workplace. On Saturdays, I am out of the house for twelve to thirteen hours, so naturally, the last thing I want to do on the weekend is to study.

Although this isn't always possible, avoiding studying on the weekend allows me to keep work and my studies separately. I have learnt through my first few years that studying over the weekend after work doesn't help. If anything, it makes studying harder. The work shift was long and I just want to sleep. Studying whilst being so tired can affect the quality of the work which will impact the grade you receive.

3) Social Evenings and Social Days

You have to be social. Being around your friends during university can help you keep a positive mindset throughout the degree. To ensure I still have a social life, my friends and I have social evenings, where we all chill in the common room or have a pub session. This allows us to talk about how our studies are going and any concerns which we can help with.

I also found that it can be important to sometimes split your social life with studying. You want to be able to relax and enjoy their company without having your studies in the back of your mind, after all, these are friends for life.


I understand these basic tips won't work for everyone. These are simple things that have worked for me to help de-stress and take the pressure off during an important year. I have used these tips for my first semester and they have been incredibly helpful. I see my friends often enough to catch up and give/ receive a helping hand when needed. During the weekend I focus solely on my job without the stress of my studies. And Monday to Friday, for thirty hours a week, I can focus on my studies, with plans for what to focus on each day. This has allowed me to stay on track with my assignments, which is really important. 

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Surviving as a Third Year