Top Tips for Students Dealing with Summer Dissertations
Top Tips for Students Dealing with Summer Dissertations By Simon Thompson
If youíre doing a Masters youíre probably in the middle of your dissertation, right at the time when most other students are taking long breaks and swanning around Europe. August has hit and no doubt youíre turning around and wondering where the past year has gone. If youíre staring at your laptop with 10, 000 or 15,000 or even 20,000 words due in September then donít worry. Here are my top tips for all students in this position over summer.
Meet up with your fellow classmates
Now that classes are over, you might be tempted to stay in your room. You donít have to see your classmates anymore, and itís a more difficult to set up meetings with them since youíre all working on different schedules. But donít give in to temptation of ignoring everyone around you. Contact is whatís going to get you through these last few months. Even if you have to actively organise it, set up meeting days with other students where you can meet up to talk about your topics, or just talk about anything but your topic. Being part of that shared experience is the first step in realising that this isnít as terrible as it could be, and that youíre not alone.
Donít spend all the time working
Youíve probably got friends and family who think youíre already completed. Itís hard explaining that this might be the most difficult part of the entire year when they say, ďWell, youíre almost done. You canít mess up now?" But, remember not to spend every single day working on your writing. Why donít you grabs some mates and take a long weekend away somewhere? Getting something organised, even if it is just a day trip out, is vital so that you donít look back and realise that you wasted a whole summer holiday in dissertation woes.
Donít wait until the last minute
Donít let the breaks you take end up affecting your last minute deadlines. Avoiding putting off easy bits until the last minute. We all hate referencing for example, but doing a little bit every week saves you from a backlog at the end. We donít always enjoy proofreading our work, but doing it in stages prevents you reading over 15000 words on the day before itís due, and then realising that nothing makes sense. Itís imperative that you use the long stretch of time available wisely.
Communicate with your supervisors
Sometimes working with your supervisor can be exciting and fun, other times it can be like a bullfight. Know your limits, and know your supervisorsí limits. Always remember that this is your Mastersí Degree and you need to get the most out of it. Let your supervisor know when things are not working for you. Protest if theyíre changing the focus of your research and you donít agree; speak up when you donít understand. And donít be afraid to ask for help when you need it.You might be working through the summer but you donít need to be stressed while doing it.
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