Well, two months down the line and my final autumn term at university is officially over. In fact, I actually arrived home for Christmas more than a fortnight ago, thanks to York’s bizarrely-early end date; as a York student you have to get used to exchanging Secret Santa gifts and saying ‘Have a great Christmas!’ just a few weeks after you celebrated Halloween. It’s been a busy term; despite having fewer commitments having left my role at the campus newspaper, third year truly swept the rug from under my feet, and it didn’t help that there was always some social gathering or another to distract me from my reading and work. But we made it to the end, as ever (forgetting that essay that’s due in on Monday of week one next term…). And it really was one of the most fun terms I’ve ever had, filled with laughter and the good kind of busyness. As a result, I definitely achieved that main goal I set myself right at the beginning: to just enjoy myself. So here are a few highlights from the last ten weeks, with some not-always-relevant photos to illustrate…

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A new term’s here, and third year has well and truly begun. It’s a total cliche to go on about how fast the last two years have gone, but then there’s a reason for that; they really did fly, even though I wasn’t always having the best time. Quite a lot has changed for my final year: although we’re staying in the same lovely house we lived in last year, we’ve welcomed three new housemates, so it’s been fun getting to know each other and so far we’ve all gelled really well. I’ve also decided to leave my beloved student newspaper after two years of hard work and endless laughter, in order to focus all of my attention on this degree thing I’m meant to be doing, so the structure of my time at university is a little different to what I’m used to.

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A few weeks into first year, a strange feeling began to creep up on me. ‘Abandoned’ is a bit strong; ‘lost’ perhaps more accurately describes it. ‘Left to get on with it’, certainly. After the bustle of Freshers’ Week, and another week or two getting stuck into the swing of classes and assignments, the golden haze that surrounded university began to lift, and it dawned on me that I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I still feel as though all the support offered to freshers in those early weeks tends to dwindle, or at least become less overt, as time goes on – but many need it throughout their first year, and beyond. So here’s the second part of my top tips for freshers, in case you’re feeling a little forgotten or lost like I was this time two years ago. If you missed Part One, you can check it out here.

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I’m moving back to York this weekend for my final year at university. Many of my friends are already committing to Masters’ applications, looking to continue their academic careers, but that’s not the path I’ve chosen to take for now; although I anticipate I may return to education at some point in the future, this will be my final ‘back to school’ season for some time. I’m still working out how to feel about that, but I know I can’t wait to be back in York and beginning this last academic year – a huge contrast to this time two years ago, ahead of my very first term at York, where I knew exactly how I was feeling: utterly petrified. I know that plenty of freshers out there will be feeling the same, so I’ve put together not one but two posts of my top tips for freshers.

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I’ve written a lot of content for freshers and current university students, but not much for those at the very beginning of their university journey (if we have to give it that kind of cliche title…). That’s going to change over the next few weeks, with this little university application series. I’ll be taking you through the big questions you need to ask yourself while choosing which degree and which university is right for you, and how I made those decisions myself. This week, I’m focusing on the application process as a whole. It feels like an enormous, daunting task, so hopefully these posts should help to simplify and even speed up the process. So, here are my top five tips for your university application:

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