In the current LJMU calendar, five months separate each university academic year. If the difference between first and second year is different module names and more friends, the difference between second and third year is an academic chasm.
I sit here writing this desperate white flag of submission just a fraction of the way into the final year of my Journalism degree. The damage that has been caused to my mind, body and relationships as I have passed through the black gates and into third year is quite considerable. Lifestyle changes are expected as you progress through university, though nothing prepared me for this.
In these opening months, I have already spent more time at the library than I had in the two previous years combined by some distance. I have to admit that I thought I wasn’t even that lazy in those years.
Now I have become the latest member of the zombie horde that makes up the inhabitants of the library in the early hours.
For a minute, let’s step away from all of these bleak observations and take a look back at the green fields of second year; the first student house, heavy drinking, great fun. The couple of weeks’ work at the end of each semester was seen by some as a huge hindrance in the social calendar. Fast forward an academic year and it’s all been turned upside down.
Lost friendships, destroyed sleeping patterns, a night out now seen as a hindrance on university work. In this final third of my university education, after two years of dreading the day I leave university, I have suddenly found myself stretching to cross the finish line and enter the decidedly murky world of work.
These two final years are so opposed that it is quite unbelievable. I entered my third year expecting a continuation of second year with a manageable increase in work load.
There is no rise in the amount of modules, it is just the extent of work that becomes more and more intimidating as you go through the module handbooks. A dissertation, a final project, a press conference, a work placement, an Advanced Journalism Practice portfolio, and this is all work set before Christmas!
It is not as if I wasn’t pre-warned by the rumours and stories that I heard about university, it’s just that I hadn’t expected it to be so major.
The foolhardy among you may see this confession as a scare tactic for younger students. I see it as a signpost, a headlight flash, just a subtle hint that a lot of mind and body preparation is needed if you are to be ready for the jump from Level 2 to Level 3.