How much free time as a final year Bsc undergrad?

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robininthewind
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How much free time as a final year Bsc undergrad?

Post by robininthewind » Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:52 pm

Hi there,

I am thinking about doing some additional research assistant work during the final year of my Bsc Psychology degree. I am wondering what other people's experiences were of their final year, in terms of how much free time they had. I had a very busy second year with a lot of deadlines, so I am cautious about overloading myself next year.

Thank you!

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CatFace
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Re: How much free time as a final year Bsc undergrad?

Post by CatFace » Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:58 pm

This seems to vary wildly from university to university. For instance, in the final year of my undergrad we had several days a week for "independent study", with very little requirement to be in lectures (and so I had a customer service job for 15 weekday hours, an infrequent RA voluntary role, and still had time to do my uni work to a high 2:1 standard - not a brag, it wasn't too tricky). But friends in other universities had requirements to be in every day, and so would absolutely not have been able to do a job alongside the course. Do you know people in your final year of your university that you could speak to?

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Geishawife
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Re: How much free time as a final year Bsc undergrad?

Post by Geishawife » Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:03 pm

I don't think it's possible to generalise. My final year was fiendishly busy with my research project taking up a LOT of time. Other people's experiences might be different. But I really would caution against taking on anything that could interfere with your studies and risk a lower grade as a result. I would recommend you don't do anything extra and focus all your energies on getting the best grade in your degree. A high 2:1 or a 1st will open far more doors than a lower grade plus some research. Good luck.

robininthewind
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Re: How much free time as a final year Bsc undergrad?

Post by robininthewind » Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:10 pm

CatFace wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:58 pm
This seems to vary wildly from university to university. For instance, in the final year of my undergrad we had several days a week for "independent study", with very little requirement to be in lectures (and so I had a customer service job for 15 weekday hours, an infrequent RA voluntary role, and still had time to do my uni work to a high 2:1 standard - not a brag, it wasn't too tricky). But friends in other universities had requirements to be in every day, and so would absolutely not have been able to do a job alongside the course. Do you know people in your final year of your university that you could speak to?
Hi CatFace,

Thanks for your reply :)
I know you're not bragging but that does seem impressive!

For my university and the particular modules I've chosen in final year, I think there is little requirement to be in attendance. I'll also be living 15 minutes walk from uni which is an immense help. My concern isn't so much with needing to attend lectures (I rarely did this in 2nd year either as I found them to be superfluous), just with deadlines and exams.

It's a good point about it varying from uni to uni. I will try and get in touch with some of the recent grads.
Geishawife wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:03 pm
I don't think it's possible to generalise. My final year was fiendishly busy with my research project taking up a LOT of time. Other people's experiences might be different. But I really would caution against taking on anything that could interfere with your studies and risk a lower grade as a result. I would recommend you don't do anything extra and focus all your energies on getting the best grade in your degree. A high 2:1 or a 1st will open far more doors than a lower grade plus some research. Good luck.
That's good advice Geishawife. I remember posting last summer with a similar question about my final year (though that was very hypothetical and now I actually have a decision to make), and I received the same advice that grades > extra work. While I agree with you that grades should be more important than additional work, I think in my particular circumstance I might be able to get away with fulfilling both, for 2 main reasons.

Firstly, due to the whole lockdown thing, my placement has moved to remote working which has given me a lot more time and I've managed to make decent progress on my dissertation. When my final year starts, I aim to have my Introduction and Methods finalised and have a good grasp of my Results. I'm not sure how far this puts me ahead of the curve but it does give me confidence in freeing up some time.

Secondly, honestly I found in 2nd year that the grades I got did not correlate with the effort I put into my work. Clearly this is not scientific at all but I suspect that after a certain amount of work, there are serious diminishing returns in terms of spending time polishing essays. This perhaps speaks to a less academically matured mindset of mine but I do feel a lot of my work in 2nd year was excessive or unnecessary.

Of course with this being said, I am still mindful and cautious of doing too much additional work, so I'm hoping to lay out clearly to my dissertation supervisor my work hours.

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maven
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Re: How much free time as a final year Bsc undergrad?

Post by maven » Thu Jul 02, 2020 3:10 pm

robininthewind wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:10 pm
For my university and the particular modules I've chosen in final year, I think there is little requirement to be in attendance. I'll also be living 15 minutes walk from uni which is an immense help. My concern isn't so much with needing to attend lectures (I rarely did this in 2nd year either as I found them to be superfluous), just with deadlines and exams.
I'm genuinely bemused how you can do a degree and not think it worth attending lectures or going into the university. I get that with coronavirus more stuff is virtual, but you are literally saying that even when these were available you think lectures and tutorials are superfluous!
Maven.

Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something - Plato
The fool thinks himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool - Shakespeare

robininthewind
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Re: How much free time as a final year Bsc undergrad?

Post by robininthewind » Mon Jul 06, 2020 12:53 pm

maven wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 3:10 pm
robininthewind wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:10 pm
For my university and the particular modules I've chosen in final year, I think there is little requirement to be in attendance. I'll also be living 15 minutes walk from uni which is an immense help. My concern isn't so much with needing to attend lectures (I rarely did this in 2nd year either as I found them to be superfluous), just with deadlines and exams.
I'm genuinely bemused how you can do a degree and not think it worth attending lectures or going into the university. I get that with coronavirus more stuff is virtual, but you are literally saying that even when these were available you think lectures and tutorials are superfluous!
Hi Maven,

Haha I think I can be a rather independent student and in my second year I took this to the extreme. Logistics swayed me to staying at home instead of going to uni as the journey took one hour each way and the bus system was horribly unreliable. The assignments themselves often did not benefit from lecture attendance as they were based on textbook material (and lectures rarely added to what was said in the textbook, in my opinion), and we did not have small scale tutorials/seminars last year. I do think I was a very hard working student, but just in my own funny way, and I also understand that my approach may not be optimal.

On a side note not attending many lectures, while not affecting my degree (in my opinion), it certainly meant my life was very unstructured and that did take a toll on my wellbeing. For my final year I made a deliberate decision to live within walking distance of uni so I can get into campus Mon-Fri, and even if I continue to not attend lectures, I can work to a more regular schedule.

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maven
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Re: How much free time as a final year Bsc undergrad?

Post by maven » Thu Jul 09, 2020 3:17 am

I can't help thinking it is arrogant and defies the point of paying for tuition if you don't bother going to lectures or teaching!
Maven.

Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something - Plato
The fool thinks himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool - Shakespeare

ClaudEE
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Re: How much free time as a final year Bsc undergrad?

Post by ClaudEE » Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:12 am

maven wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 3:17 am
I can't help thinking it is arrogant and defies the point of paying for tuition if you don't bother going to lectures or teaching!
I graduated last year from a course that had about 200 students per year. I'd say there was rarely more than 50 students in each lecture. All our lectures were recorded and made immediately available online, it was School policy. I myself made an effort to attend every lecture because as robininthewind says it gave my days more of a structure, and then used the recordings to go back over any bits I couldn't keep up with or struggled with. But I completely understood why so many of my colleagues and friends didn't attend, especially if it was a difficult topic it was much easier to watch it as a recording so you can pause and rewind as you wish. I also didn't have any small scale tutorials or seminars, so university attendance was really only in the form of lectures or any personal meetings you had scheduled yourself.
Labelling people as arrogant if they choose not to attend lectures doesn't sit right with me, there are countless legitimate reasons people may choose not to attend. As a group of psychologically minded people I would have thought we'd be more aware of that.

robininthewind
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Re: How much free time as a final year Bsc undergrad?

Post by robininthewind » Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:21 am

maven wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 3:17 am
I can't help thinking it is arrogant and defies the point of paying for tuition if you don't bother going to lectures or teaching!
I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this Maven. Presumably you attended your lectures and you seem to be further down the professional path than me and doing very well, so I can't fault your process. But in line with not generalising across universities, I have always felt supported at uni remotely (even pre-covid era) with recorded lectures, online resources and an online forum with lecturers. I understand why you may think that missing lectures is arrogant, I can only respond by saying that personally I always felt I was doing it for different reasons!

@ClaudEE thank you for your post :) it seems like we've had similar uni experiences and your post does reassure me. I agree with your sentiment - though I also hope Maven was giving me the benefit of the doubt by thinking the behaviour was arrogant and not me as an individual! :D

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Spatch
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Re: How much free time as a final year Bsc undergrad?

Post by Spatch » Thu Jul 09, 2020 3:42 pm

I wonder if a cohort difference may be being played out?

As someone who is more of Maven's generation than the new graduates, I think lectures may be quite different experiences than people going through the system today. 'When I were a lad', the largest lectures would have about 80 or so people (and seminars being about 5 students per group) and there was a high degree of asking questions, participation, and if you missed a lecture you would really miss out. I wouldn't miss lectures because it was a huge component of the learning. It was at the early stages of the internet (Netscape navigator anyone?), you would have to queue up for ages for accessing a computer, no Blackboard/Moodle or easily accessible recordings and far less online than there is today.

Having recently given some undergrad lectures, the experience is so different and more inline with ClaudeEE's experience. Class sizes are larger, there is a lot of listening and far fewer questions and answers. A lot are cooler about missing lectures because they can catch up online later in the comfort of their own beds. A lot more of the learning and discussion seems to happen on social media and everyone has better access to journal articles and resources. I can see why people may not feel it necessary to attend in person anymore.

Mind you, even if I was doing it again from scratch I would probably still attend, because so many of the opportunities the emerge were from meeting people physically and being in the same space as the various psychologists and academics at university. Hearing stuff on the grapevine, in the corridor chats and finding out about possible jobs opening up is just more likely if you are there in the building. Heck, I even could even trace back one of my publication authorships as a result of helping one professor load the photocopier.
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maven
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Re: How much free time as a final year Bsc undergrad?

Post by maven » Thu Jul 09, 2020 4:18 pm

ClaudEE wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:12 am
maven wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 3:17 am
I can't help thinking it is arrogant and defies the point of paying for tuition if you don't bother going to lectures or teaching!
I graduated last year from a course that had about 200 students per year. I'd say there was rarely more than 50 students in each lecture. All our lectures were recorded and made immediately available online, it was School policy. I myself made an effort to attend every lecture because as robininthewind says it gave my days more of a structure, and then used the recordings to go back over any bits I couldn't keep up with or struggled with. But I completely understood why so many of my colleagues and friends didn't attend, especially if it was a difficult topic it was much easier to watch it as a recording so you can pause and rewind as you wish. I also didn't have any small scale tutorials or seminars, so university attendance was really only in the form of lectures or any personal meetings you had scheduled yourself.
Labelling people as arrogant if they choose not to attend lectures doesn't sit right with me, there are countless legitimate reasons people may choose not to attend. As a group of psychologically minded people I would have thought we'd be more aware of that.
It would make a massive difference if you were watching the lectures, despite not attending them! The OP gave the impression s/he just didn't think the content was worthwhile and s/he wasn't wasting their time on them. As Spatch says, that wasn't an option when I was at university - but I did enjoy the interactive element also, of being able to ask questions, clarify things and catch up with my peers. I don't think I'd have got that from watching videos.
Maven.

Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something - Plato
The fool thinks himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool - Shakespeare

robininthewind
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Re: How much free time as a final year Bsc undergrad?

Post by robininthewind » Thu Jul 09, 2020 5:06 pm

maven wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 4:18 pm
It would make a massive difference if you were watching the lectures, despite not attending them! The OP gave the impression s/he just didn't think the content was worthwhile and s/he wasn't wasting their time on them. As Spatch says, that wasn't an option when I was at university - but I did enjoy the interactive element also, of being able to ask questions, clarify things and catch up with my peers. I don't think I'd have got that from watching videos.
Apologies for the confusion - I did mean I was still watching them, just not in person ^^

As for the other benefits of attending in person, I definitely see that. I do think the decision is quite personal, but in the interest in keeping to the original post and also not revealing all of my personality online, I will shush myself on this for now.

I did end up agreeing with my dissertation supervisor to do some research assistance work for one day/~6 hours per week. I think this is reasonable for me, but time will tell :)

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CatFace
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Re: How much free time as a final year Bsc undergrad?

Post by CatFace » Fri Jul 10, 2020 10:53 am

I would also like to add a socioeconomic perspective to this. I could not have afforded to go to university (in the major city that I was offered a place in) unless I worked a certain number of hours a week (in a secure job that paid more than a zero hour retail assistant job). These jobs only tend to be 9-5 in the week. So got a job in customer service on the phones.

I was given a maintenance grant that didn't even cover my rent (which was 3K, rent was 4K) forget about tuition (this is pre the new 9k tuition but still was expensive for an 18 year old). The SLC had deemed that my parents were wealthy enough to pay for my tuition, but they couldn't afford this and so didn't. I had no choice to take up the halls offered as there was no space in any others, and in town rent in rooms was too expensive. I didn't drink at that time and ate out once every month.

I considered the OU but still wanted the university experience and to get my degree at a university that had good post uni prospects. I decided to make the compromise and just catch up in the evenings/weekends if I could. I still worked hard, just worked differently, and I think I still got a good degree and good experience. I still got into over 10K of additional debt (mostly because of a sandwich year as an honorary assistant) that I only paid off when I qualified as a clinical psychologist.

My Dad was horrified at my approach to university, however he had a grant when he was at university and yes, he lived simply, but still graduated in no debt at all.

I graduated in 2008. It is MUCH harder financially now. So....many reasons to want to work over a degree.

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