The students’ biggest nightmare during university is – no surprise – the dissertation. We’ve all been there and know how much you have to struggle with procrastination and working hard on your final paper. Long sleepless nights, unlimited cups of coffee, and numerous mental breakdowns are the main ingredients for a stressful final year.
However, dissertation doesn’t always have to be a terrible moment in students’ life. There are specific tricks to make your life easier and ace your dissertation with no anxiety. Here are four tips to keep up with your final paper and have a relaxed year at the same time:
- Start earlier than early
Even though an entire academic year sounds more than enough to plan and write down around 10,000 words for your dissertation, it may surprise you how many drafts you have to prepare and how much time you need to tickle every single bit. Proofreading and completing your reference section is again something that has to be done in a long period of time. The best thing to do is start thinking about your dissertation topic and the main books and journal articles you’d like to read before starting the final year. The summer between the second and final year could be a good chance to take a look on previous examples, e-mail professors with any questions, and do a little bit of research on the topic you’d like to write about. Don’t procrastinate too much and leave it at the last moment.
- Store your work
No matter how much you’ve written in a day, update your work and save it. There are numerous ways to keep your work stored, from Google Drive to USBs. If you work on a laptop, make sure you don’t save your progress only in a folder, but make a copy of it – you don’t know when a virus pops into your laptop and erases your entire effort. As you store it, you can write down helpful comments to improve your work or additional things you might have to take care of like checking a specific book or developing an area in the dissertation. Keeping an accurate record of your work will only make your life easier.
- Meet your supervisor as much as you can
Your supervisor will be your parent during the final university year. Having a professor who will constantly check your progress and who will guide your next steps is the most helpful element for your dissertation. So make the most out of it! You’ll have a minimum required meetings with them, but you can see or e-mail them as many times as you want. If you doubt something in your final paper or aren’t too sure about what you should do next, make sure you ask your supervisor and explain to them all the confusions you have. A good thing to do is ask them for feedback for everything you write or plan on researching. The supervisors’ guidance is the most important for your final paper.
- Set specific deadlines
Your dissertation is the largest project you’ve done so far so it’s important to plan it properly. There are many sections which have to be written down accurately and each of them carries the same importance. So you should pay attention to every single detail. One of the best things to do is to set deadlines for every single section. You could perhaps write the introduction and literature review until Christmas and the rest in the second semester. You can also set these deadlines with you supervisor if you feel you’re not strong enough to stick to them. Think about how many months you have left until the final submission and how many other essay deadlines or exams you’ll have to face. Using mobile apps like To-do list is a great way to set deadlines and prioritise your work.