How to Survive your Dissertation

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It’s that time of the year again and some of us only have one thing on our minds: dissertation. It is scary, it is unknown and sometimes we feel lost during the process. Finishing it and handing it in feels impossible. We know how you feel, and even though at times you may fear you will not get it done, we assure you, you will! To help you along the process, we have some fantastic tips to make it easier for you.


Start early – don’t postpone it!

It is appealing to leave it for tomorrow, next week or even next month, but this is a mistake. We are not saying you need to be stressed from day one, but it will be really helpful if you start thinking about your dissertation as soon as possible. What are you interested in? How could you get it done? Do you have previous knowledge on the topic or does it sound brand new to you? Will you be comfortable writing thousands of words on this specific subject? These questions may not sound crucial to you, but they are incredibly important for the later development of the thesis, from proposal to completion. 


Question yourself

Sometimes we get too immersed in what we are writing: we are passionate about it and we commit the mistake of assuming the reader will know as much about the topic as we do. Make a point, give evidence, and explain. These three directions constitute the basic core of your dissertation. Make sure you keep it interesting but simple at the same time so the main argument of your thesis is visible and clear.


Stay on the basics

When writing your dissertation, it is normal to try to stand out from the crowd as much as possible. We want to be the best, have the most amazing thesis and experiment with all the things we have learned so far. While this is fantastic for our intellectual development, don’t try to reinvent the wheel. At the end of the day, it is another paper that needs to get done. The best and easiest way to complete the dissertation is by keeping it classic and uncomplicated. Simple is best: one question, one line of argument, one topic.


Take time off

Working from home may sound like a dream, and while it is very comfortable to be free to structure your time any way you want, bringing home work can also be problematic. Weekends and week days may start blurring into the same thing: working on the dissertation. Hard work is essential, however it is equally necessary to switch off and allow yourself to relax, go out and have fun. Resting for a day or two can actually improve your thesis: you might come up with new and better ideas or fill yourself up with energy and motivation for further work.



You have just completed a chapter. Done. Onto the next one without having a second look at what you have just written. Wrong! It is crucial to always reread finished chapters to make sure that the narrative is clear and all the arguments exposed follow a linear and logical pattern. Also, it is a great way to check for grammar mistakes or spelling errors that could affect your final grade.



We are not going to lie, dissertation time is stressful, but it is not impossible.  The best way to carry it out is to find a way to enjoy it. Even though it is hard work, the reality is that you are actually given the possibility to research on something you are interested in about and provided with help from your supervisor. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, remember why you chose this topic on the first place and keep in mind the thesis is not against you; you started it and you are making it possible. Enjoy the freedom of researching what you are passionate about!



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