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Signs You’re in Your Final Year of University

Updated: Jun 10, 2023

I’m now at the business end of my university degree. Five years seemed like such a long time, but at the risk of sounding old, I’ve only just realised how quickly university goes by. On the brink of real life, I’ve realised a number of things happen to you as you reach the end of your degree.

The people in first-year law classes look about five years old

Maybe you’re like me, and you’ve shuffled your degree around. Your last year could have a first-year subject here, a compulsory third-year subject there – but, it’s basically hell. Mostly because your classes go over things you’ve heard a thousand times before, like why plagiarism is bad, proofreading is good and so on. Or talking to a fellow classmate about what they did over the weekend to hear ‘Oh, I didn’t go out. I’m not 18 yet.

Those were the days. This brings me to the next problem.

You don’t understand what your classmates are saying

An actual quote from a student in one of my classes: ‘What?! A 2000-word essay?! That’s the most words I’ve ever written in my life!’ Oh, kids. You’re in for a rough ride. But of course, what happens when you’re in classes full of youth is.

It gives you a false sense of confidence because of your ‘experience’

Puh-lease. 2,000 words? I can do that in a day. I’ve done bigger assignments in less time than that before. Famous last words. Every.Single.Time.

You lament the friends that have already graduated

Have you developed abandonment issues? I have. Friends who have done a single bachelor, or a couple of summer subjects to speed up the process or are wandering overseas on exchange years, can make making new friends a little difficult when you’re missing the people who used to be in your classes.

But the good thing is, if you do anything embarrassing, there are enough new students to have no idea who you are.

Like what yours truly did recently, rocking up to a unibar and face planting on the freshly spilt beer. But not knowing anyone in the large group of youths can mean not embarrassing yourself. It’s the little things, you know?

There’s the lost-time regret

Which can include the whole ‘why didn’t I maintain a distinction average’, and, ‘why didn’t I try and find work experience earlier’ to the ‘why didn’t I go to the uni bar more.’ And then…

You wonder where people get their ‘adult’ clothes from

Once you actually manage to get some real experience, you may start to realise that you’re going to need more than one ‘business jacket’. This could mean a visit to a department store you’ve never been to, where the salespeople can practically smell your fear and sense that you actually have no money.

People start talking to you about graduate jobs and salaries

This is difficult because being in your final year of university means that you can have wildly different expectations of what ‘no money means’ when talking with grown-up, real-life professionals:

‘You don’t want to enter into community legal centres. There’s no money in them.

‘Uh… what do you mean no money?’

‘You know, like 50 grand.’

‘Uh yes… That’s no money.

The real world looks a little terrifying

All that talk of career advancement, graduate jobs, training programs, and people telling you that the job market is terrible can give you the case of the jitters. This can make taking another year at university to write a long-winded thesis start to look really appealing.

If anyone had asked me at the beginning of my university degree whether I’d take an honours year after five years of uni I would have laughed in their face. But then the thought of finding a job, deciding whether to take a break and do some travel, not having a concession pass anymore and having to pay full price for public transport – means that Honours is starting to sound like a great idea.

Teachers look at you with nostalgia

Of course, you’ll bump into a Professor here and there. And the conversation will always go like this:

‘You’re still here?! I remember when you were a first year! How long has it been now?’

*Cue nostalgic glance into the distance while you try and slink away*

But it doesn’t stop there…

Conversations with family members generally end up like this:

‘You’re STILL at uni? When are you graduating?’

Yes and believe me I can't wait until I graduate either. I'm so close!

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