Emilia, Class of 2021
As the end of the academic year approaches so does the final assessment… your dissertation. Scary but so rewarding. My dissertation was one of my favourite modules, said no one ever, but it is true. Having that academic independence and the challenge of creating a piece of research is incredibly exciting.
However, the grade weighting, the workload, and time commitment that goes along with a dissertation can take a toll and it is best to find balance and maintain healthy habits.
One way to put your mind at ease is to set your own personal deadlines, a week or 2 before official deadlines. This way you have peace of mind that everything will be finished on time and the comfort of knowing if you need extra time, you have factored that in for yourself.
Time blocking is a great tool to use to encourage productivity. Have clear blocks of time that are dedicated to a task helps it feel less daunting and tackles it in small steps. You can also block daily tasks or fun activities, visually seeing where your time is going with considered “free” or “reward” time, keeps this stressful time balanced.
Socialising and Hobbies
Dissertations are incredibly consuming but maintaining friendships and socialising during this time is important to sustain your mental health through this process. Along with continuing hobbies to keep you sane. Yes, your priority may shift to focus more time on the dissertation but don’t cut out things you enjoy all together. Cancelling an event to write your dissertation will only leave you procrastinating, longing to be somewhere else, but isn’t time that is helping you rest or rejuvenate.
Feeling like you should always be working on your dissertation and the guilt that accompanies that is real. Understanding everyone works in different ways and everyone’s process will look different. For example, I struggled at the beginning to understand the structure and how I would approach my chosen concept. While my peers were submitting drafts, I was still collecting research for the literature review. Once I had wrapped my head around this, the writing was quick and flowing easily. Everyone is different, don’t feel guilty for working at a different pace to others. Stay in your lane, you’ll make it out the other side!
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