I’m having one of those moments where you think “what on earth happened?” – sitting down to write this post is surreal. Only a few years ago back in 2012 I was hammering the keyboard voicing my concerns about moving to Liverpool and starting university.
Then followed my first year of university which was one of the toughest years of my life and it challenged me every way possible – everything from moving away, holding down a long distance relationship with my (at the time) childhood sweetheart and living with people I didn’t get on with.
My second year was where my university life turned around, I shook off my insecurities and broadened my horizons to make it work here in Liverpool and now here I am, university has concluded for good and i’m working full time in the field I studied so hard to become a ‘professional’ in.

Today I am talking about the third and final year of my BA Hons Journalism degree at Liverpool John Moores University. I have to say third year was the best year yet and part of me is sad that my academic adventure is no longer continuing.

My lifestyle in Liverpool this year has been amazing for many reasons (even though I haven’t found myself partying hard every weekend) the biggest reason has to be the fact that I lived on my own as opposed to sharing with people I didn’t know or even people I thought I knew. If I had been mature enough to know that living alone was the best option for me, I’d have done it from the start and saved a whole lot of aggro in the long run. I have loved having the space to myself or to entertain or to do my work quietly. How tidy or how noisy the space is, is my choice and that’s exactly how I like it.

In terms of the actual academic side of things, I wish I hadn’t taken the ‘third year will be hell’ sentiments to heart as it really hasn’t been hell and I’ve sneakily quite enjoyed the challenges I faced. Third year studying journalism at JMU is much more practical than any of the previous years and you work as a professional journalist all year round. Some modules have not come without their stresses, sourcing original news stories and designing a newspaper every week can almost break you but I feel that the key to success is extreme organisation. If you work 1-2 weeks ahead of yourself you will manage to get everything done and do it well.

 I had the opportunity to head out on work placement this year and whilst my main work experience in January was a complete waste of time, I did other bits of work experience thoughout the year which all helped to build my confidence both at uni and in my personal life. I also had a taste of PR which has helped me in my career. I have to say that I also quite enjoyed researching and producing my dissertation which was on the innovation of women’s lifestyle magazines. Last year I was relentlessly scared of the prospect however, I found that by choosing a topic that interested me it kept my mind stimulated.

 One of my favourite aspects of this year was the freedom to create a magazine from scratch as a final project. I of course centred my magazine around beauty and the outcome is pretty alright despite my InDesign skills being a little redundant at the start of the year.

Like most soon-to-be graduates, a good 50% of my third year was spent worrying myself sick over what I would do when all of my assignments were handed in. Moving home wasn’t really an option for me and I felt like I was running in quick sand trying to work out my next move. My story is quite unique in the way that my job came around and I guess I have to thank that homesick 18 year old back in 2012 for getting out and going to an event that led me to meeting my future boss who would offer me the perfect job role a few years later. And now the girl who did anything to escape Liverpool is setting up camp here for a while longer!

If it had any advice for the third year of university, it would be to work extremely hard, be very organised and start circulating your professional capabilities from September. Get yourself on Linked In, build up your CV, get out there on work experience and show potential employers why they should pick you from the thousands of other graduates out there.

 I would also advise anybody to get a job within their student union, I worked as a receptionist and later as digital content staff at LiverpoolSU for two years and I met some fantastic friends. The work is flexible and gives you a new circle of friends and experiences all whilst earning a few pennies.


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