Speaking as a current third year University student about to leave the safety of full-time education this Spring, I understand the pressure to keep momentum after your course finishes. A lot of students feel the pressure to apply for Graduate Schemes, Internships and full-time jobs as soon as they can after they finish their degree. However, the other option that is not as often mentioned- the year out option, has had a growing stigma attached to it. The reality is, that there is no shame in taking some time out after you graduate.
After three or more years working really hard to get a degree, taking a breather away from the rolling system could be just what you need to gather your thoughts and make a much better-informed and composed decision towards starting a career. This time in between can be spent seeking out work placements with relevant companies, and building up an extensive and varied CV. Companies all over the country advertise Graduate Schemes every year, if you don't get onto one straight after you finish University, you must remember there will be another chance next year.
Another reason to consider time out is for an opportunity to gather up some of that good old Life Experience. I don't know how the majority of third year students feel at this point in their degree, but I for one, certainly do not feel old enough to be starting my dissertation and looking into non-student housing. Travelling a little, reconnecting with your roots back home, enjoying the sunshine, none of it is a bad thing. It gives you head space to grow as a person and be able to reconsider your priorities and needs away from the influences of an academic institution. Not everyone has things mapped out for themselves in their early 20's, which is why making rushed decisions might come back to haunt you later on. I personally believe that if you are unsure about anything in life, then a calculated and timely approach will result in a much thorough and successful outcome. Considering this in terms of which career path I want to follow; I like that concept. I will be working for the rest of my life, so why not take the time to make sure it's something I truly enjoy and something that I will be happy doing for a long time?
Of course, if you are completely confident about your chosen career and have the chance to dive right in after you finish University, that's excellent too! If it is making you happy and making you feel positive about the future, then get excited. Enjoy it.
For the rest of us, still a little wobbly about our future, I have found this quote from American psychiatrist and author Morgan Scott Peck; "Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it."