The infamous dissertation essay is not only a significant part of your final grades, they also involve a lot of hard work and effort. Our ten tips have been collated through research and student experiences to help you have a stress-free time with your dissertation.
Ensure you have the right tutor
A dissertation will feel a lot more stress-free with the right help to hand. Your university is unlikely to provide you with someone substandard but if you think there is any chance who you’re working with isn’t right for you, speak up as soon as you can.
Try not to dwell on it
A good way of lowering your stress levels is to try not to speak about your dissertation too much when you’re not studying. While it’s understandably a high priority, you’ll benefit greatly from taking time away from it to recharge. Your friends and family will mean well, but are unlikely to know much about your subject so it’s best to keep it between you, your classmates and tutor.
Nail your dissertation plan
Having a well-thought out plan can really help to alleviate your stress levels. Try not to leave it to the last minute, and make use of the range of productivity apps for university students. Speak to your tutor about how to best plan your particular piece of work and find the medium that suits you – explore digital calendars or try a good old fashioned, hand drawn timetable.
Don’t compare your work
Comparison can lead to totally unnecessary stress, which is the last thing you need when you’re writing a dissertation. Everyone works at a different pace and to different strengths, so don’t be tempted to panic if it seems like a classmate has done ‘more’ than you. Focus on what you’re doing, and keep checking in with yourself and you tutors to monitor your progress.
Resist the temptation to start again
Unfortunately, it’s almost inevitable that you will have the odd day when you think your work is terrible and you’d be better off just starting again. This is likely the stress talking, so take a breather, recharge and step away before making any drastic decisions that could ultimately set you back.
Stick to some social commitments
It’s likely you’ll be at your desk more often than you’d like, but it’s still essential that you get out and enjoy some fresh air and social interaction. The better you plan (and stick to it) the less stress you’re likely to feel when the time does come to go out. And it’s worth remembering that you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy yourself after the task is done.
Be prepared to edit
There’s no worse feeling than unearthing a piece of research you found fascinating only to find it doesn’t really fit in. However, the reality is, not everything will be useful or necessary so it’s best to prepare yourself for some brutal editing. It’s best for your stress levels not to be too precious about your words or ideas, and if you’re in doubt, run it by your tutor.
Be prepared to print
If you’re concerned about the environmental impact of printing out a long document, there are steps you can take to help make it as stress-free as possible. Small things like sticking to black and white or grayscale colours or checking with the printer what type of paper they use can help to put your mind to rest. And of course, ensure that you’re printing the amount of copies that is absolutely necessary.
Be proud of yourself
Once it’s done, there really is no use in stressing so just enjoy the freedom and be proud of what you’ve achieved. If you did your best, followed your tutor’s advice and put everything you could into it, then the likelihood is that you will get the grade you deserve. Don’t forget to treat yourself when it’s all done.