Amy Thomson, a level 6 student in 2018/19, offers some advice about how to get the most out of the final year of your literature degree at Portsmouth.
The final year of your degree sounds terrifying; all your assignments count, you have your dissertation and you need to make plans for whatever comes next. Despite this, it really isn’t that bad (provided you stay organised!). The last two years have prepared you for this and provided you with all the skills you need to write a dissertation you can be proud of and graduate with the best possible grade. This last year passes in the blink of an eye, so here’s a few things I wish someone had told me at the start of my final year.
We are incredibly lucky to be supported by a fantastic team of lecturers who genuinely care – so use them! When you get feedback on an essay be sure to talk to them. If you have questions about pieces of theory or a text you’re studying, then ask them. I have never left a meeting with my supervisor or any of the lecturers feeling disappointed; they have always helped me, whether that’s to form a strong essay plan, run over material from first year or explain how I could improve my writing. They are at your disposal, therefore you might as well use them, as they are the experts who are going to be able to help your dissertation be the best it can be.
If I could turn back time, I’d tell myself to make the most of it. With all the deadlines and the pressure about getting the best grade, it’s easy to bury yourself in work and obsess over creating fantastic pieces. But that’s not the only thing you get out of your time at Portsmouth. Remember to spend time with your friends; after graduation you may not be seeing each other quite so much. Relax. This seems counterproductive when you consider the work needed for you dissertation alone, but taking the time to destress and step away from your work makes it even stronger.
Whilst working towards your final grade is important, for me, the most important message is to enjoy your last year at University. For some of you this will be the last year before going into the real world and for others you’ll be preparing for your Master’s, but all of you will be graduating at the end of this year not only with a degree in English Literature but a network of friends to fall back on.
Amy is now studying for an MRes in Literary Studies at Portsmouth. For further information about the MRes programme, click .