After years of education, your final year at University includes the ultimate challenge – the dissertation. A dissertation is a true test of an individual’s knowledge of a given subject area. As the dissertation process lasts for the majority of the academic year, it is inevitable that a series of struggles and hard times are involved. In this article, we show the 16 struggles involved with a dissertation… as a reminder that you’re not alone!
1. The Pressure
First of all, there is the issue of how much pressure is involved. The dissertation can single-handedly change your grade – you can be on course for the high of a first, only to drop into 2:1 territory, or even a 2:2. It is the single most important piece of work you’ll undertake in your Undergraduate degree. The importance will be weighing heavily on your shoulders throughout the year.
2. Debating on a Title
Choosing a title for your dissertation is like an assingment itself. Everything you dream up sounds either excessively boring or too complex. It doesn’t help you either when you hear others have started their research!
3. Keeping Motivated for Months…
While for essays, exams and any other assignment that your lecturers throw at you typically require short bursts of work and attention, a dissertation is a different beast. You need to stay focused for months on end, remaining motivated for this amount of time can be difficult!
Procrastinating is so easy to do, yet it causes so much damage. You might even make a schedule just to prove you are doing something, but you don’t even keep to that. Actually sitting down and working becomes difficult.
5. Juggling the Dissertation with other Subjects
A big struggle involved with the dissertation is the fact that you can’t give it your sole focus. This is because you have other modules to study for too. You have to complete a range of assignments all at once, and trying not to mix them up is difficult. The whole process leaves you drowning under water.
6. Finding Time for Eating and Sleeping
Not only is there the problem of academia, but you also need to find time in your life for eating and sleeping. It seems to get to the point where a dissertation takes over your life.
7. When the Book you need isn’t in the Library…
The feeling of making your way to the library to take out a book you need for your dissertation is one of pride – you are actually doing something productive. Yet when you eventually make it to the library, you see your book has been taken out by someone else. The rage…
8. Struggling to Relax…
Every time you want to relax, you feel guilty. Even innocently watching an episode on Netflix seems like a liberty you shouldn’t be taking.
9. When Someone Asks You ‘The’ Question
There is one question that should never be asked… ‘How is your dissertation going’? When the dissertation is on your mind 24/7, a conversation outside of the realms of this area would be appreciated.
10. When You Hear Someone Has Finished Already
It gets to a few weeks prior to the hand-in, and the rumours circulate around the course that one person has managed to finish their dissertation. It leaves you feeling demotivated, and wondering how they managed it.
11. When First Year’s Complain About Their Workload…
As the meme above shows, you just want to put your arm round them, before saying about the big storm that’ll eventually hit them. You say it in the most patronising way possible – of course.
12. The Inevitable All Nighter
Most dissertation’s require at least one all-nighter. The effects of this all-nighter are felt for days after. Your sleep pattern becomes ruined, and it leaves you disheveled and disorientated for the next few days.
13. Needing to Take out a new loan for Food from the Library
As you become accustomed to living in the library, it would seem that taking a packed lunch would be the sensible thing to do. Yet the lure of convenience is too much, and vending machines and campus shops are familiar hunting grounds. Yet you quickly run a large bill – not good.
14. Trying to Hold it Together Near the Deadline
As the deadline nears, you assure yourself that you have just a few more days to get through. It is difficult, and you have your Mum on speed dial ready, should you need to let some anger out.
Many organised people reference as they go along. But it is so easy to fall into that trap of leaving the referencing until the end. And when you get to that point, you are so tired of the dissertation, that you basically end up giving anything a citation. Anyway, it isn’t worth taking risks – so you cite anything and everything.
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16. Printing It
So, after months of work, stress and annoyance, you have finally completed the dissertation. Yet one final hurdle stands in your way – arguably the biggest hurdle of them all – the printer. Approach with caution, and give yourself plenty of time to wrestle with it. But then, all will be done.