Why Third Year Is More Important Than You Think


We’re almost there, but not quite.  The third year of your university career is arguably one of the most important stages of your education.

Nonetheless, most people don’t place as much importance on this crucial year, partly because it’s often overshadowed by the emphasis on frosh year and graduation year. But the decisions we make in our third year of university can determine the experiences and opportunities to follow.

Third year is the time to get moving – and quickly.  Sorry, third year students, but putting things off till next year isn’t going to cut it.

This year, I followed up on my degree requirements because, as someone who has already switched her major once, I definitely don’t want to find myself having to stay in school longer than I have to.

Time is precious and the right decisions are crucial, but don’t stress too much.  Think of this as your milestone year; you have already completed half (or more than half, depending on what stage of third year you are in) the requirements of your degree.  Be proud of yourself! You’ve made it through the temptation years when freedom from home and partying are a costly distraction for many students.

Personally, I found the first year of university the most difficult. Even though I planned on switching majors, I mostly focused on the task at hand: making it past the first round. The second half of university is slightly easier in terms of understanding the expectations of your courses and overall program. Third year is comfortable. At this point we’re pretty much pros at most things university.

So now is the time to think seriously about expectations for the final year and beyond. This means researching the types of jobs that cater to our degrees and understanding what we need if we’re planning to pursue post-graduate studies.

Third year is also the time to ensure that we are on the right track toward fulfilling the requirements of our major.  Are you missing a course or two? Now is the time to make up for what you’re lacking.

Many students fall trap to the mentality that they have fourth year to prepare for the workplace.  Any fourth year student will tell you that it goes faster than he or she had anticipated.  Believe me, I’ve asked. Curb your procrastination habit and don’t let it be the reason why you have to stay an extra semester or year.

We’re less than 2 years away from the real world!  This is the only time before final year that we have to prepare.  It is better than scrambling last-minute to realize that you actually didn’t fulfill all the requirements.

In the first 2 years, we’re able to get away with more, specifically in terms of grades.  This is not to take away from the importance of achieving good marks from the onset; however, the marks we attain in our final two years are crucial to getting into post-graduate programs. Additionally, certain internships require school permission, which means that grade point averages are considered. It’s also important that in third year we manage our finances wisely for the cost of placements or internships associated with many programs for final year.

We have to be diligent about how we manage our time and resources in third year because our actions, or lack thereof, have a way of creeping up on us in our final year.

What strategies are you using to make the most of third year?

Photo credit: Students studying (Koerner) by UBC Library on Flickr
About the author

Nadia Zaidi is a journalism student at Ryerson University where she has also completed her politics minor. She is concentrating in broadcast journalism and hopes to pursue a career in television or print media. She is a freelance writer and her work is regularly featured in various local publications. Throughout the years, she has published over 100 articles on youth-based issues. Through her writing, she strives to advocate problems pertaining to young readers and community members. In her spare time she enjoys sports, jewellery making, creative writing and spending time with family and friends.