Top Tips on Writing a Dissertation: Surviving The Write Up

This is easily the most stressful part of your dissertation. You will promise yourselves the day you pick your topic that you will finish your dissertation months before the deadline. You will be super organised and have it edited to perfection weeks before the hand in. And then other assignments/commitments/life gets in the way, and its a month before the hand in and you’re only half way there.

Don’t panic. Its doable. Here’s how you get through those last, awful few weeks.

Get enough sleep.

It is so tempting to pull loads of all nighters to get it done. But actually, staying up until 11,12 and then going to bed will do you more good than staying up until 4am. Have a good nights sleep and you’ll be productive all day, rather than being in some constant vegetative state, relying on the next Red Bull to keep you awake.

Make a good playlist.

Boost your morale. Have uplifting songs, relaxed songs, classical music- whatever gets you in the zone for working. You will be at the desk for hours, so mixing up your surroundings will make it more bearable. Plus making playlists during your breaks is a good way to clear your mind. Which leads me to…

Take loads of breaks.

Get up. Walk about. Your legs will go numb if you don’t. Every hour or so take a brain break- check Facebook or read the news. Giving your body and mind lots of breaks will keep your thinking crisp and alert. You’ll be much more productive. Trust me.

Have good snacks.

You could have nutritional stuff that is brain food, but it doesn’t really offer much encouragement. If there was ever a time to binge on junk food, now is that time. Ditch the grapes and grab the pringles. You deserve it.

Have a good group of friends to work with.

Fun enough so that they make it enjoyable, but studious enough so that you get your work done. Having people to natter to, run your thoughts past, take coffee breaks with etc are a total blessing when you have all this work to do. Just don’t invite that guy who constantly distracts you…

Stay positive.

This is the most important. You WILL finish this. You WILL finish this well. You ARE clever enough and your project is WONDERFUL. You have come this far, so stop doubting yourself, your abilities and your project. You’ll look back in 5 years time and be so proud of it, I promise.



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