Dissertation Diaries 4

I think at this point it would be highly agreeable to say that the word Dissertation is firmly on my mind 24hrs a day. It is March, my first chapter has been handed in and my last bit of feedback has been received and I have around 22 days until the whole thing is due.

Yes, 22 days to write my third chapter, flesh out my research for my introduction, write said introduction and conclusion, edit the whole thing, format it and provide my full bibliography. Safe to say no social life and a lot of tears should also be added to this list.

Don’t get me wrong, I have felt semi chilled about the whole thing up until now and I am still in the frame of mind that there is no point stressing because it will get done (it has to). Yet, the dread of having to complete a huge project that is worth a lot of my grade and I have spent a lot of time on, makes me feel uneasy. I want to do the topic and myself justice but the serious time crunch I’m under and the fact I am completing two other modules alongside this insane amount of work makes me wonder if that is possible.

With that in mind, the first chapter went well. I have got well rounded feedback (which I will be getting a supervision meeting for) and I am sitting in a good place, I think. Last week I finished my second chapter and I have just finished setting out my comprehensive plan so I can finish (hopefully) my third and last chapter by the end of this week. Although this sounds promising, the one thing that is weighing heavily on my brain is having enough time to sit and redraft it and edit it. If time was a luxury and I could extend it, I would ideally like to sit away from it for a few days so I can gain some perspective and clearly see the mistakes but unfortunately I do not think that is going to be possible. The one thing that is keeping me going is that this will all be done very soon and I can take a big sigh of relief and have my life back. It is actually quite scary how quickly I went from being not too concerned to being very stressed. March is a month I would like to revisit and reevaluate I think, as right now I don’t think I’ve done much but stare at my screen and wish words would just magically appear.

I think about my dissertation a lot but I am not adhering to this chaotic image that seems to surround a lot of the online discourse attached t0 dissertation season.

When it comes to this first hand-in I had practically finished my first dissertation chapter by the end of January so when the February deadline rolled around I was prepared to hand it in. I highly recommend doing this if you are on a similar course to mine. With mid term assessments due around the same time you’ll be thanking your earlier self a lot if you work strategically with this deadline.

With the impending finish line it has got me thinking about the stereotypes surrounding dissertations. Ever since my first year I would always remember older students getting extremely stressed about their dissertations, to a point where late nights and a lack of sleep seemed to be a universal experience for every student. However, that has not been my experience and I have been continually doubting myself because of this. Do not get me wrong, I have been stressed and I think about my dissertation a lot but I am not adhering to this chaotic image that seems to surround a lot of the online discourse attached to dissertation season. I am just surprised by how much this bothered me as it has made me feel like I am not working hard enough because I am not extremely worried about everything.

I was probably more stressed about the impending load of work after finishing third year than where I am now (crazy, right!?).

I am quite happy with the fact that I can self reflect and acknowledge that this has actually been an issue. It is something even lecturers have commented on (in the sense of it being a stressful period). That is definitely not to say it has not been stressful and that it won’t get worse, I guess I probably just show stress in a different way to other people and that is okay. Although in saying that, watch me have a breakdown in the next 20 days and then I’ll be eating my words.

Moving away from stereotypes and stress to another nagging issue; my course is pretty much the only one that has an extremely early deadline, it is due on the 8th of April unlike others who have until the end of April/start of May to send theirs in. To add to this I have Sports Ball and Varsity towards the end of the next 22 days and I have promised myself I will manage it all (hence why I said there probably will be another breakdown in the middle of all this). At the end of the day, it is my last year and I want to enjoy it and I do not want to regret missing these events (which I last went to in first year because covid ruined my second and third year plans). It is about balance right!? And I would say I deserve to have a little fun in the middle of all this hard work.

All in all, the past few months have been extremely busy and March is going to be the ‘month from hell’ in that my head will barely come up from looking at my screen. However, I know that at the end of it (maybe some time after) I can hopefully be proud of the work I have done and eventually, will look at it fondly.

To be honest, the next update probably won’t happen until my dissertation is completed and if you want I can always do a more in-depth explanation as to how I went about the process if that would be of interest to you guys?

I’d say the common emotion I have right now towards the whole process is feeling fed up. Last week I did not want to touch my dissertation and because of the repetitive nature of planning and writing it does become quite tedious. The whole idea about hating your dissertation by the end of it is one of the stereotypes I can totally get onboard with.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the little insight into how life is right now, considering it is literally all I have been doing, there is not much else to add. How are you doing? If you are also in the middle of your dissertation, how are you getting on? Let me know in the comments!

Sending all the love,

Sophie x


2 Comments

  1. jengreggs

    You can do it! I handed in my thesis for my master’s in October and I just got the email inviting me to my graduation ceremony. It can feel really stressful but looking back, I honestly think that the “this is a really big deal” vibes you get around the dissertation are a hindrance and make it much more stressful than it needs to be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sophie's Edit

      Aw congrats and thank you for the kind words! I 100% agree, it adds a lot more pressure. I wish they would prioritise enjoying the process (its not everyday you get to sit and write/research a subject you’re passionate about in length) rather than feeling forced into hating the process because of how ‘important’ it is.

      Liked by 1 person

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