#Be Kind: You Got Diss
The #BeKind series is a mini-blog series that forms part of our LSU blog series. In this blog, Loughborough Students’ Union (LSU) London School President, Amie Woodyatt, discusses the difficult task of writing dissertations and offers some helpful tips on how to manage the workload.
Coursework and exams are finished, summer is here (albeit for around a week at a time), and we’re on the final stretch towards completing our courses. But while it may seem easy to say “I only have my dissertation left”, the effort of this year (both academic and personal) has left many burnt out.
Dissertations are a colossal piece of work and it’s completely valid to find them daunting, but remember that you still have plenty of time. Below I’ve put a few tips for taking care of yourself while getting your dissertation finished.
Block your time out
Time blocking is something I’ve done a lot of experimenting with at university; the process involves organising your day into ‘blocks’ for each task. These blocks can be different lengths for different people, but I’ve found anything more than an hour and a half leaves me open to distraction or easier to burn out.
It’s important to remember this is flexible to your goals, your capabilities on the day, and what other priorities you have. On some days I can have two-hour meetings which take a significant chunk out of my day, I simply delete or move blocks, prioritizing what needs to be done, and make sure I schedule in any lower-priority work for a later date.
It could be a two-hour lunch break, making sure your evenings are always free for Netflix, or a ten-minute break every forty minutes of work, however you break, make sure you do it. If like me you struggle to relax or take your mind off work, try doing something during the break.
At the moment, an active break is doing anything except for my dissertation, that could be applying for a job, replying to emails, or mindlessly scrolling TikTok (stay aware of the time if you choose the latter). I also thrive on seeing people in-person (yes, the pandemic has been hard) so at least every other weekend I make an effort to go and do something in-person.
Stay hydrated and well fed
I notoriously do not drink enough, but when my brain is working hard on my dissertation I know it’s crucial I fuel it properly. To help drink more water I put a little bit of juice concentrate in, and I put specific breaks between work blocks to make and eat food.
If you find yourself dehydrated or forgetting a meal, try the little things. Give your water a bit of zing, plan nice meals, or have snacks nearby – fruit is always great as the water content is high, too!
This may be one of the most annoying but important points. Take an hour to plan out when you need to have things done by, and always give yourself extra time. Plan your best-case scenario, but also your worst. This way if unexpected life things pop up, you will be prepared and have a time contingency to work around them.
By effectively managing your time and looking after yourself, your dissertation should be finished in no time. Remember your health comes first and if you’re struggling, you can reach out to the Welfare team at Londonfirstname.lastname@example.org
Take breaks, stay hydrated, try a little and often approach. You got diss.
Loughborough University London and Loughborough Students’ Union would like to thank Amie Woodyatt for this blog.
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