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Writing Your Dissertation

Alya Omar Study

It’s that time of the year again. Final assessment deadlines are beginning to pile up, but WAIT! There’s another deadline that’s just around the corner; one that you’ve been slaving away throughout your final year...

Yup, it’s your dissertation.

April -07-16_Dissertation _In Page 350

Now, for those of you who have yet to experience this wonderful experience, fret not, my friend. Your time will come… eventually. In the meantime, here are some basic tips, as well as the ‘lessons learnt’ when it comes to pulling through your ultimate undergraduate project!

Time Management

 You’re probably tired of hearing this age-old advice by now, but it wouldn’t be constantly drilled into your head if it wasn’t important! Remember: you’ll have other deadlines to deal with from other modules, so timing is basically everything. Especially when you have deadlines all piled up within a week/a few days from each other. Yikes!

Try to keep a planner to organize yourself. Having a schedule is helpful, and although there isn’t a guarantee that it will be followed exactly as it is, you’ll still be able to have a grasp on what needs to be prioritized!

Regularly meeting your supervisors

It’s always a good idea to run through your ideas with supervisors, especially if you’re unsure about certain aspects concerning your dissertation. Plus, at some point you’ll probably have a deadline to submit your drafts, so it’s useful to be as prepared as you can.

Try not to stress too much

Of course, stress is something we all go through one way or another, so it’s unavoidable, but it always helps to remember that you’re perfectly allowed to take the day off every once in a while (though if you’re anything like me, then I completely understand how difficult it can be to turn off sometimes).

I’d recommend taking a day trip outside the city if possible. It helps to have a change of scenery and a temporary distraction (if you’re worried about getting behind work you could always bring it along)! Personally, I enjoy the ocean view whenever I need a good old distraction (I particularly enjoy the sight of the sea en-route to Edinburgh by train, which is only 1 and a half hours away from Newcastle!)

However, if at any point you do feel like the stress is getting to you, then don’t be afraid to approach your guidance tutor. Alternatively (and if you prefer some anonymity), you can also book a counselling appointment with the Student Support and Wellbeing service.

Keep writing: I know this is something that’s easier said than done, and it can sometimes feel like there’s a huge block in your way preventing you from writing that first word! Alas, I’m afraid I must extend this advice to you all. It’s basically the one thing my tutors constantly tell me whenever I go to them in my stressful times, and I do think that once you do start it gets a little easier.

Some things I’ve learnt along the way

  • Caffeine will more-or-less become your companion in these trying times.
  • The power of Inter-Library Loans is amazing, like… seriously. It’s incredible.
  • You’ll probably cry at some point. Probably…
  • Sleep is for the weak.
  • It’s okay to take the day-off every now and then. To quote Parks & Recreation: ‘Treat yourself’.

Overall, I have to admit that it’s not as scary once you actually get into writing. Plus, it’s one of those things that you know is going to be worth it in the end, because it’s essentially your own creation!

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