Life, AD 2013 (After Dissertation)

2. Write a dissertation.

COMPLETE! Hang the bunting, let’s hear the fanfare, I have never been so happy for something to be over!

I know it’s been a bit quiet around here during the final stages of dissertation, but I have a bunch of posts in the making so we’ll be back to normal soon.

So it wasn’t an entirely awful experience. Remember me (naively) saying how enjoyable the whole thing was? Well, it wasn’t like that the whole time. I will never forget the day after I said I thought I was almost finished. I got to bed at 4 a.m., got up at 8 a.m., and worked through until four again. So before I leave it behind, allow me to scrape together the positives of writing the dissertation, or at least the things I learned.

1. The Dissertation Survival Guide includes eating absolutely anything you want (my version does anyway). This makes your brain happy, as you satisfy any and all cravings exactly when you get them, and a happy brain is more likely to work better for you. Bacon and brie pasta for lunch? That’s totally fine. Topping it off with an entire bar of chocolate? Well, you know what, your brain will probably burn off the calories what with all that thinking.

2. How to procrastinate. I was already pretty good at this, but when you’re taking something seriously, i.e. you cannot leave the house except to work or other entirely necessary things, then you have to be creative. Of course, the Internet allows us a procrastination tool for the rest of time if we let it, but DON’T DO IT. If you go on the Internet, you will lose a day to Facebook/Twitter/cute animal videos on Youtube. (Although I once saw a stat that pictures of cute animals actually make workers more productive, so that can be allowed sparingly.) Suddenly having a shower is procrastination. A walk down the hall is a pleasant way to stretch your legs. For the girl who doesn’t cook I’ve never spent so much time preparing food. Or napping, even if it was not always planned…

3. Do you know how they say hard work is its own reward? Well, when it comes to the dissertation it’s completely untrue. That is, if you mean it’s enough reward; if your dissertation doesn’t earn you a degree, you’re going to be pretty destroyed. However, if we take this as simply as meaning hard work is rewarding, then I think I’d have to agree. I have never put so much into what is essentially an essay, and it feels like a real achievement.

4. I learned a lot about author branding. Considering the dissertation was all about it, I would hope so.

5. My friends are brilliant. The Working Woman got me through one particularly low point, and actually kickstarted the final push to get the dissertation finished. I also really appreciated just how many people filled in my survey, so thank you if you did!

There we go! Five things I can take away from goal number two. The best thing about it though is definitely finishing, and being able to look forward to doing the following:

1. Catching up with friends.

2. Publishing work experience.

3. Going to the zoo.

4. Reading without feeling guilty.

5. Doing anything without feeling guilty about not doing dissertation, to be honest.

6. London, baby! Got a trip booked with my sister from 19 to 21 September. Wicked, Harry Potter and McFly – it’s going to be amazing!

7. I have already been to see the touring cars at Knockhill, where I got a shout-out on Knockhill radio. My fifteen seconds of fame!

8. Redesigning the blog. It’s time for a change, just need to meet up with Clare to discuss!

9. Nothing! (When I finally have a day off!)

So it’s still go, go, go at the moment with working four or five days and work experience two days, but I’m going to have a day to myself on Tuesday – when I’ll probably work on job applications. No rest for the wicked! Yet it all feels like a welcome break, to be honest. I forgot how… almost claustrophobic it can feel being at university, where there’s constantly something you have to do niggling at the back of your mind. It’s so freeing once it’s finished!

Nevertheless, completing the dissertation is the culmination of something you’re working towards that’s entirely for yourself. There’s something rewarding about that alone. Often people will go into a job they don’t particularly enjoy, working for the success of people at the top of the hierarchy, and not have a high level of job satisfaction. That’s why I’m set on publishing. I don’t feel lost after finishing this degree, like I did after graduation two years ago; I know I’m finally working towards an entire career that’s right for me.

I hope you’re all doing brilliantly, and look forward to catching up with everyone’s posts!

Lauren

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