8 Things I Wish I’d Known as a Final Year Film Studies Student
Every Film Studies course is different; some will be more theory-based, some more practical. But no matter where you’re studying, here are some things I wish I’d known before I started my final year that might just help you through the last leg of your journey.
1. Don’t throw out the work you did in your first and second years.
Even if it’s just a couple of notes about East German fairy-tales of the 40s and 50s, keep a hold of everything. Honestly, it will come in handy for when you need decent references for the assignments that lie ahead. Believe me, I even used an essay that was about Hong Kong social and political anxieties of late 80s films in my lengthy thesis on Hayao Miyazaki.
2. And don’t push the dissertation aside as soon as you have a plan.
It’s easily done; you think of a great idea, make some sort of plan, and then forget all about it. Make the effort to gather all the necessary information early and chip away at it throughout the year; you’ll thank yourself for it later on.
3. Watch as many films as you can.
This probably seems obvious (after all, this is all Film Studies students do anyway, right?! 😅) but the fact is, you can never watch too many films. By all means, focus on the genre you’re most passionate about, but don’t ignore all of the others. You’ll be surprised how useful a little extra knowledge will come in for your dissertation.
4. And take any relevant library books out as early as possible.
Be prepared to battle your fellow film friends for that one book that you need so desperately and the library only has one copy of. It’s guaranteed to happen either way, so you might as well start looking early. The last thing you want is to end up needing a book at the last minute only to discover that someone’s reserved it until after the deadline of the essay you need it for.
5. Grasp at any opportunities that are presented to you.
Even if it’s just a temporary volunteering role that doesn’t have anything to do with what you want to do in the future, seize every chance at any kind of experience. You’re going to need all the help you can get for your CV, so put yourself out there.
6. But don’t panic if you have no idea what you want to do next.
Just focus on final year for now. Definitely get some experience for whatever you can, but don’t start trying to cross bridges you’re not at yet. If you already know your career goals, great! If you don’t, that’s fine too. Go chat with your careers advisers when you’re ready, keep an eye out for the kinds of jobs and graduate schemes that are out there, but don’t let thinking about graduate life cloud your experience of final year.
7. Try not to get annoyed when people underestimate how hard your degree is.
It’s no secret that Film Studies gets a bad reputation. People assume all you have to do is to just watch films and write about them, and never will this annoy you more than when you’re a final year. You’d love to see them get their head around even half of the theories you have to understand, though. But, seriously, ignore it. They’ll never understand how gruelling final year of Film Studies can be, and if they have time to criticise, then clearly their degree is far easier than yours!
8. But most of all, don’t forget to enjoy it.
After all, this is your final year as a university student. Sure, you’re going to have to work harder than ever, but make sure you find a balance between work and play. It’s important that you spend some quality time with the friends you’ve made over the last two years while you still can, join any societies you haven’t joined yet (especially the film-related ones!) and just generally make the most of still being a student of one of the greatest degrees out there. 🎥🎥🎥