Honest Advice About Your Dissertation

Honest Advice About Your Dissertation

While the majority of my posts are about beauty, i am also a student in my honours year of University. 4th year has been a massive jump for me, i comfortably passed my preliminary degree with minimal effort but this year has been a massive step up. I suppose, like my dissertation advisor always tells me, they don’t give you letters at the end of your name for nothing.

I’m lucky enough to have no exams over Christmas, but i do have my dissertation due on the 4th of January, harsh guys… so i don’t really feel like i’m getting a Christmas break. I’m nowhere near as organised as i should be for my dissertation, i know some people who are virtually finished!

I do find i work well with a little bit of pressure but that pressure can easily turn into stress and be counterproductive. I’ve found, over the past week or so, some things that have helped me manage the stress and allow me to be productive and i wanted to share them with you today, in case any of you are in the same boat.

Accept The Stress.

If you asked me if i felt stressed, my gut answer would be no. Then again, i’m constantly losing my patience, i have no tolerance and i just want to scream at everyone. To you, your dissertation is the centre of your world right now but to other people it’s not and that can be tricky when people don’t realise how much pressure you’re under. My advice is, accept the stress. I’ve tried baths, exercise, breathing, talking about it and real talk, nothing works. Accept it, give yourself a break. What you’re doing is really challenging

People are annoying. 

This kind of relates to my last point but stay with me. I’m not a controversial person, i actually go out of my way to avoid it. I’m a bit of a pushover and i’m far too shy. Although, the past few weeks or so, i’ve been spoiling for a good old argument, even though i know i hate arguing. Things that bother me (that i can usually let slide), really bother me to the point i have to bite my tongue. I try and not get caught up in it because i have so many other things going on. Tips for this situation, remove yourself from it if you can. Rationalise with yourself, if your boss is being unreasonable then remind yourself you won’t be working their much longer.

If you’re on the opposite side of this and someone you know is going through their dissertation, be mindful. They’re under a lot of pressure and you probably don’t know the half of what they’re doing. Help them out and try not aggravate a situation.

Plan. 

I found it quite helpful to write down every day until my deadline on a piece of paper (this is how late i started) and worked out what days i would be working and roughly what i’d be doing. I planned days off (subject to change because my work rota changes every week) and wrote down how many words i was going to write each day. I then transferred this to a big weekly planner (I got this cute one in Primark for £2.50) for in my bedroom and a little one for when i was going into the library (the little one is Zoella Lifestyle it’s almost too pretty to use). When you reach your word goal for the day, take the rest of the day to yourself. Do something for yourself and don’t feel guilty, if you can see you’re on track, there’s no reason not to give yourself some down-time! I never give myself more than 1000 a day, i find that’s my limit but find what works best for you!

Post-it Notes

I find when i’m in the library, my mind wanders really easily then i struggle to concentrate on what i was doing. I’ve found it really helpful to have post-it notes on my desk. Whenever something pops into my mind, i write it on a post-it note so i know i won’t forget it and can get back to what i was doing. Be it shopping lists, reminders, random thoughts, putting them on paper is a good way to get them out of your head.

Early Bird Catches the Worm.

People work better at different times of the day, as much as i hate it, i work best early in the morning. This means lots of 6am rises to head into the library, the ten minutes after my alarm goes off is the worst. Although, i’m normally finished about 1pm and i can enjoy the rest of my day! Be strict with yourself, it’s a short time loss for a long term gain!

Take Care of Your Skin. 

Stress is bad for your skin so you need to make an extra effort to take care of it. Try and go easy on the coffee (i limit myself to one a day). Drink lots of water (at least 2 litres of water per day) and well. Treat yourself to face-mask or a pamper session a few times a week and try get enough sleep. If you’re tired, you’re not co-hearent to be productive so just some shut eye! Getting yourself into a routine of going to bed early, and waking up early will really help- you can binge on Netflix once your dissertation is over!

Snacks.

Nothing gets me through an 8 hour library session like snacks. Make nice food, try new food. Use food and exciting snacks to make your day a bit more exciting- honestly, if you’re a foodie, this helps your sanity.

Reference. 

This is a tip my dissertation supervisor gave me and i think  it’s pretty handy. He told me, reference as much as possible, if you’re making a statement then back it up with a reference. The benefits are two-fold: 1) Even if your marker doesn’t agree with what you’re saying, if it’s referenced it’s very hard to lose marks. 2) It makes you look like you’ve done more reading than you actually have which in turn is very impressive to markers. If you read a really good essay, don’t just cite the essay- use the individual citations that they’ve used in their bibliography.

Needless to say i’ll be a happy person when it’s all submitted on the 4th of January!

So this is some of the advice i can give you from what i’ve learned so far. Let me know if you’re going through this or perhaps have gone through this and can share some pearls of wisdom!

I’d really love to hear what you thought of this, if you enjoyed it be sure to like the post and leave a comment. All my social media is linked above you can also follow me on bloglovin’ here- i don’t actually understand bloglovin’ but apparently it’s a thing i should be involved in!

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5 Comments

  1. December 18, 2016 / 3:30 pm

    This was great to read, I’m currently doing my dissertation too, so it’s not a fun time. It’ll all be worth it in the end though, best of luck x

  2. December 19, 2016 / 11:33 pm

    Love these tips! My dissertation isn’t due until may so I’ll defo be using these to help me up until then. Good luck with your hand in date soon 🎉

    • December 20, 2016 / 8:52 am

      Thank-you! I hope yours goes smoothly!

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