Guest blogger this month is Nikki Walker. Nikki has just graduated from East Coast Media in BA (Hons) Journalism. In this blog, she passes on some words of wisdom to those about to enter their third year of a degree.
The final year of any degree is nothing like any other year in education. Once the second year of the Journalism degree ended, I almost instantly began thinking about my dissertation and final major project. This final year was my year, a year where I could be creative, where I could set any challenge for myself and succeed or fail. For people just entering their third year of the Journalism degree the only advice I could give is be prepared. Research is crucial in every module and you won’t feel prepared unless you do. It goes against the grain for me to agree with authority figures but in this instance what the tutors have to say is just common sense.
This year is all on you and if you ask for the help or guidance it’ll be there. You might not be in the classroom but the hours you’ll need to put in are long and the more organised you are; well it won’t necessarily be easier but you won’t feel as swamped. From the first two years you should have already realised that the weeks literally evaporate, so you may as well prepare yourself for some stressful moments. I’d say don’t leave everything until the last minute but I’ve been there and every term I promised myself to be more structured. I drew up timetables and allotted hours to each module, I planned myself weeks in advance but all I was doing was procrastinating against the work I really should’ve been doing! I fear most people will do the same but if you give yourself a rough schedule it really will make it easier.
As you’ll already know the two main or biggest modules are the dissertation and final major project. For your dissertation choose something that holds a real interest for you, this is important because although the ‘research’ module is done before Christmas you’ll be researching right up until the first draft. Secondly don’t make the mistake of thinking because it interests you it’ll be easy to write, it won’t. It’s unlike anything most of you will have ever written before and the style isn’t always easy to get your head around. For your final major project, again, choose something that interests you, you will spend hours on it. But, think it through. I didn’t and through sheer fluke, hundreds of hours and no social life from January through to April I managed to pull it off. If you can think about it now, think about contacts, real contacts, people that are easily attainable. Think visuals or sounds or images. Google is no longer you friend, think copyright!
Finally don’t forget everything you’ve learnt these last two years because you’ll have to use it all and much, much more. You’re going to be stressed so don’t kid yourself, give yourself time to relax and remember, it’s a cliché but you’ll get out what you put in.