If you are reading this then it is likely that you have already survived two years of study. You have developed the skills to be an independent learner and have passed  assessments and exams on the way.

However, the final year brings with it the additional demands of a thesis or final major project and thoughts of a future career. You may also have to deal with goodbyes  to friends and adjust to moving back home with family. It is not surprising that some final year students may start to lose focus and motivation in the second term. The increased workload can result in weariness and a sense of feeling overwhelmed. It sometimes seems easier to ‘stick your head in the sand’.

If you feel that you are starting to lose perspective, stop and reflect on why you came to university. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Why am I doing this degree?
  • What do I want to get out of this?
  • Where can this degree lead me?

The answers to these questions can remind you why you started the university in the first place and reconnect you with your hopes and ambitions for the future.

A balancing act

It can help to list the main challenges that you are facing at this stage. Consider all that are troubling you e.g. deadlines, accommodation, finances, work, relationships. Once you have a list you can start to prioritise.

  • What do I need to do now?
  • What do I need to do this week? 
  • What do I need to do this month?

Make a study plan with goals what you intend to achieve day by day. You can use a diary or make a daily chart. Remember it is OK to ask for help from your tutors if you are unsure of something. 

Make sure you take a break and do  something for yourself! Maybe give yourself a reward when you have finished an assignment or have put together your CV.

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. We all need support at challenging times in our lives. If there are worries that are getting in the way of your studies speak to a Student Counsellor!

ELTE Lágymányosi campus, building D; 1117 Budapest, Pázmány Péter sétány 1/C South building;  room 0.727, room 0.203 and room 00.721


Managing Stress

Stress is a normal part of life. It can help motivate us to meet deadlines and stop us from taking unnecessary risks. However, sometimes you can find that you are trying to juggle too much and this can have a detrimental effect on your physical and mental health. There are things you can do to help you de-stress:

  • Take a break from study
  • Look after yourself by eating healthily and getting regular exercise
  • Link up with friends and family
  • Give yourself a treat, go to the cinema, book a massage
  • Try a breathing exercise.

Breathing for Relaxation

This exercise is simple and discreet. You can do it before an exam or while studying. Breathing out for longer than breathing in has a calming effect. 

Concentrating on counting can also clear the mind of other worrying thoughts.

  1. Breathe in for the count of 7
  2. Hold your breath for the count of 4
  3. Breathe out for the count of 11

Repeat 3 or 4 more times.


When we are feeling overwhelmed it is easy to get into a negative spiral and lose  confidence. It can start with thoughts of ‘I can’t do this’ which progress through to ‘I am so behind with the work’ to ‘I am no good’. We have to learn how to change the initial negative thought into a positive one.  ‘I can’t do this’ can become ‘I have passed the first two years’ to ‘I can succeed’

Write down your achievements so far and display these in a prominent place to remind you of what you have accomplished. If there are challenges that seem unmanageable, write down as many solutions as possible to help you decide how to tackle each one.

For example:

‘This unit is too hard to understand’

Possible solutions

  • Meet up with other students to discuss
  • Arrange to meet with the tutor
  • Read around the subject
  • Devote a specific time to looking at core texts
  • Think about what time of day is easier for you to take in information when revising.

Personal action plan

Set yourself some actions that will help you achieve the degree you are hoping for. These could include:

  • Changing a study habit such as finding a time of day when you are more alert
  • Trying something different to help manage your stress levels
  • Learning to say ‘no’ to others when you need to concentrate on your studies
  • Prioritising tasks
  • Devoting some time to future plans which could include making an appointment with a careers advisor or doing a job search.

‘Determine what specific goal you want to achieve. Then dedicate yourself to its attainment with unswerving singleness of purpose.’ Paul J. Meyer (Founder of Success Motivation International)

Surviving the Final Year