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The Third Year Crisis and How to Haul Yourself Out of It

25/03/2014 17:15 GMT | Updated 25/05/2014 10:59 BST

I'm sure you've all experienced it: that sudden stomach churning moment when everything looks so hopeless. It usually comes in the middle of March, when work stacks up, that dissertation deadline begins to feel like 12/12/12, exams come lumbering into view and not one potential employer has got back to you. It is completely indiscriminate in its administration of sheer naked terror, and even the most accomplished students, with CVs that glimmer like the North Star and their legitimate prospects of achieving that First, which is as elusive as the Pokémon legendary dogs once were, feel the terror set in. What I talk of is the Third Year Crisis, a phenomenon that has taken on a new lethal edge for the CV generation.

Whereas back in the days of our wondrous parents (hi mum, hi dad), most students could fall back on the fact that a 2:1 from a decent university would pretty much guarantee a job, what we now face is a dog fight of epic proportions. As you sit amongst your peers and they reel off company after company that they have got an internship in, you can't help but feel the icy fingers of fear tickle your back and that little voice you've tried to suppress begin to get louder: "Fuck" he or she (mine is definitely a repugnant little goblin) mutters in your ear, "you really need to get something sorted don't you. Do you want to spend the rest of your life sat in your underwear?"

Furthermore, the Third Year Crisis also has the threat of exams and university work as an extra string to its most cruel and accurate bow. As you sit amongst your peers, and they reel off reading after reading they have done for their dissertation, you can't help but feel the icy fingers of fear tickle your back and that little voice you've tried to suppress begin to pipe up: "Shit" he or she mutters in your ear, "you're not getting that sorted are you? Looks like you'll be spending the rest of your life sat in your sweaty underwear."

The Third Year Crisis also turns us into mistrustful and suspicious animals, like feral dogs that has been beaten their whole lives and doesn't trust any humans that approach, skulking under skips with watchful and pained eyes. When a friend of yours assures you they've done no work, nor done any applications, that hateful voice comes to the fore again: "Liar! They're lying! Kill them, kill them now! They're lying to you. They've done loads!" It takes superhuman restraint to resist this temptation to strike your friend down in cold blood, to stop them applying for the same graduate scheme as you. Even the Bible, in Matthew 10:21, discusses the Third Year Crisis saying of it "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child." (thank you biblehub.com).

The Third Year Crisis, my friends, is a malevolent and transient being that awaits us all as we near the end of our second term. However, having had a recent dice with the Crisis, and coming extremely close to hurling a friend down the stairs of my library as he told me "I'm fucked for my dissertation" I managed to navigate my way through it, only killing one cat and three puppies in the process! And the way to do it is a three-way pincer offensive. It begins with positive thoughts and looking up the past history of inspirational figures and how they managed to traverse life. For me this person was Steve Reeves, the most famous body builder of all time. I want, above all else, to be a bodybuilder of world-wide acclaim and Steve achieved that without an internship, or work experience, or getting a 2:1 from a Russell Group University! Well in Steve!

After doing that, the next step to repel the Crisis is cleaning. "How on earth is cleaning going to help my job prospects, or prepare me for my exams?!" I hear you scream. Well, for some reason unbeknownst to me, nor any of life's great thinkers, including Stephen Hawkins, Richard Dawkins and Bill Gates who have debated the topic at great length, the sense of achievement that cleaning gives you can solve most of life's ailments. When I was battling the Crisis, I got up at about 7am and cleaned the mouldy, festering kitchen of my flat and then tidied my room (I'm an aspiring bodybuilder so you can imagine the state of it: protein shakes and weights strewn across the floor). After doing this I suddenly felt that my life was actually going in the right direction, and I was in fact going to supplant Steve Reeves in the bodybuilders' hall of fame. Trust me, if you ever feel like University pressure is turning you slowly into a wide-eyed, gibbering wreck, then do some cleaning and you'll feel like a star of the future. It really works.

The final stage is exercise. I'm not going to go into too much detail into why this works, mainly because a simple Google will do that for you, and the results will draw on legitimate science rather than anecdotal evidence that is exaggerated greatly for literary and comedic effect (7am!? HA!). But exercise is the final component in staving off the Crisis, and it really does work. I do suggest, however, that you don't do it at the same time as you're cleaning as doing washing up in one hand, and a 60kg weight in the other, is difficult.

So, there we have it. The Third Year Crisis is a cruel period of time that will affect all but those with a cast-iron sense of belief. However, if you follow the simple steps I have outlined you'll be fine. Know your enemy, and then defeat it with a potent combination of selective Googling, manic cleaning, and painful exercise.