Semester two: dissertation and staying motivated

Semester two: dissertation and staying motivated

Sometimes I feel like the number of people who go to University every year almost makes getting a degree ‘look easy’. So many people graduate each year that it seems so simple. Move away and study for three to four years and you’ll be able to sport the gown and hat, no problems at all. I know I fell into that trap when applying. In the sense that I knew it was going to be hard work but probably underestimated how much hard work was needed. I don’t want that to make me look bad either, I just think we are all a bit naive at eighteen years old. There were plenty of other factors that made me want to continue studying after A levels for a degree, plenty. And social media doesn’t exactly make that much easier. Constant photos of people at Uni having fun, out every week with the occasional Instagram / Snapchat story at the library featuring a Starbucks – easy right?! Then again, are you really going to put up a story every time you’re sat at your laptop? Probably not.

This degree has most definitely been a journey. Somehow, we are now in semester two which can only mean one thing, it is the final push to the end. My journey is nearing the finishing line. Pretty scary stuff. I’ve gone from 10 hours a week to four (yes you read that right, I’m timetabled in four hours a week) with the delightful introduction of my dissertation. I’ve mentioned this slightly in one of my posts last year but the thought of dissertation used to scare me so much. It still does. Such a massive piece of work and the biggest piece of work I will ever do. I remember when I started first year, the final project seemed like such an impossible feat and thanked myself I wasn’t at that stage. But oh hello, here we are and I now have only a matter of weeks in order to have my 10,000 words looking clean and polished. It’s quite a weird feeling having a solo project where you basically control every aspect of it. Every assignment has always been mapped out with a question and a vague structure to follow. This time we are on our own. I don’t know how I feel about it quite yet, I just know that I need to get a lot of work done over the next few weeks…! It’s quite nice I guess but then it is also nice to have the structure of an assignment brief. I’ve waffled on a bit there, but I hope you get my drift.

With it being the final semester, I am already finding myself needing more motivation to get myself up and out to the library to get work done. Scarily, (look away any other final years who don’t want to know how long, or little we have left) I only have eight weeks of lectures and eleven weeks until the very end. When put like that it really is not long at all. I need to stay motivated because this is really the final push, and probably the most important one. I’ve put together my top six tips that I’ll be following to try and keep myself motivated and on track over the next few months:

Schedule your work hours and split the work down

It helps to be organised when you have a lot of free time and in my case, there is a lot. I’ve always found that it helps to break work down into sections and give yourself mini-deadlines for when these parts need to be done by. It doesn’t always matter if you don’t meet them, they are only personal deadlines but it helps you feel on track and gives you something to work towards. I work in the days so I have the evenings to myself but each week is different!

Make time to see friends

No matter how much work you have to do, schedule some time for yourself. Even if it’s meeting friends for a coffee or some drinks it’s good to have a break. It’s good to take a break from the laptop and dissertation!

Exercise / Eat well / Sleep

Never in a million years did I think I would be suggesting exercise. I’m definitely not the picture of health but taking time to go on a run, go to the gym or do a workout can really help set you up for the day and clear your mind. Whenever I need to clear my mind I find running helps completely shift my mood and I always feel so much better. Take time to eat well, sleep and look after yourself. It is so easy to fall into the ‘student trap’ of eating rubbish and not sleeping but keeping healthy can really help with being motivated to go to the library and get that literature review written!

Remind yourself of your goals

This one speaks for itself really. If you feel like you need a little bit of motivation just remind yourself of where you want to be. You might feel like you are drowning in work and things aren’t going to plan but always remind yourself of where you want to be. These last few months are only temporary but will be so worth it in the end.

So here’s to the final few months of University – I can’t believe I’m actually saying that! It’s going to be an incredibly busy few months but I can’t wait to see what happens, it will all be worth it in the end.

Luce x

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