January is upon us and that means only one thing. Dissertation panic. Arguably, the pressure cantered around the dissertations is probably worse than the project itself. With endless setbacks from ethics to issues with the results, your dissertation will always be a struggle. Although, it could also be your biggest achievement to date.

To help with the stress here are just a few tips from a graduate, which I wish I would tell myself.

Time out

Time out does not mean drowning yourself in jaeger bombs and forgetting the impending deadline. It means actually making an effort to do something that will allow you to relax. If that is watching your favorite film, exercising or just having some sort pamper; turning off your laptop and having time to yourself can really keep you sane among all the chaos.

Turning off phones, laptops and stepping away from the books will always give you a much-needed break. Walking outside has been proven to be a natural relaxation techniques. Walking in a calming setting will give you time to clear your head. Even if you feel guilty about not sitting at your laptop, continuing to work for an hour or twos break, your stress levels will benefit.


Having a weekly to do list is something not to be laughed at. Managing your time for work, breaks and, eating will always be a relief. In times of panic, to do list’s show you how much work you have done- easing anxiety along the way.

Pre- planning the structure of reports, presentations and even revision can take pressure off too. Establishing the layout, references and even to some extent, the content page will make the process of writing slightly easier.

Councillors and Talking to your tutors.

Councillors are on site to talk through any issues you are having whether academic or not. You do not have to deal with problems on your own. Talking to someone who has little knowledge of your surroundings, course and insecurities can often ease tension. Often helping you gain confidence to complete projects to your up-most ability.

Lecturers are also there to help. In fact, some of them may have already noticed and are waiting for you to ask for help. Talking things through with a lecturer can sometimes feel like you have given up, yet you are not the only one and lecturers are prepared to prep you up when you feel like it’s too much.

Finding a comfort zone.

Finding your comfort zone, will instantly calm you. When you are comfortable, work seems to flow well. Being at ease is so important, it instantly allows for creativity. Having a relaxing environment will aid the stress of any deadline.

Near the end, you deserve a cup of tea.

Filling your space with restful things like tea and biscuits can calm the situation instantly. Finding something that just gives you a break from a report or revision will just give you time to breathe. Experiencing a little time away from your laptop to making a drink or making something to eat will allow for a slight break in work.

University life is stressful but when deadlines hit the pressure amplified. Having ways of easing stress can only make things better. Talking to others can also take the pressure off even though sometimes talking to your peers can seem daunting. Discussing issues to lecturers or even a councillor will create a much-needed gateway. The tips are only what I think will help at such a stressful time of year and not necessarily for everyone – but I really hope they help!