Dissertation Motivation

If you’ve read my blog posts before you’ll know I’m in my final year of university, and one of my modules – Communication for leadership, as the name suggests, is teaching us how to give speeches, and talk in public. I started this back in September, and although the module petrifies me and all my peers, we’ve found it so beneficial. We’ve all said how much more confident we all feel, even talking in general to new people, or in front of an audience. This weeks speech we had to give was a metaphorical one, meaning we either had to include as many metaphors as possible or include an extended metaphor, in which I chose the latter.

I was delivering it to my friends on Thursday, and I decided to speak about motivation for our dissertations, as its something we are all going through right now. I know I’m struggling to stay motivated! I really struggled with the metaphorical side, but once I’d started writing, the metaphor came easy, comparing a dissertation to a marathon made so much sense. The best thing I found whilst writing this speech was, that I felt that I was writing a blog post, more than I was a speech, so I decided to tie the two in together. So for my fellow final year undergraduates, I hope that this helps you stay motivated and keep going, because we will get there, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the moment.

The marathon of my dissertation

It’s something all students have to do, in fact, all students have to do in one form or another, the dreaded marathon of a dissertation in our final year. Whether its writing 10,000 words, or a portfolio of artwork, it’s something that we have trained for the past 2 years, and we have 9 months in order to reach the finish line, so why are we stressing so much?

I suppose the realisation that we really only have about 4 months left until the deadline is pretty petrifying. But don’t think of it as a glass half empty situation though, we still have about 4 more months until we cross the finish line and we have to hand it in. We can do it.

Working on your diss a little bit every day or every couple of days is exactly how you should be training for a marathon, it’s certainly not a sprint. No one wants to be spending their days running aimlessly to and from the library in April praying that they get to the finish line, feeling seriously stressed. I have 97 days until that dreaded deadline day, so using the time we have now to cover the first 20 miles is so important. It’ll make life so much easier when we also have assignments to be doing at the same time.

Often people associate dissertations as being boring, long and horrendously exhausting, but twisting the thought around in your mind, that actually this is going to be the best and perhaps the last essay I ever write, and I’m going to nail it, might make it easier to comprehend in your head and feel more motivated to get it written.

Hopefully you all chose the topics you did because you loved that area of your subject, and hopefully, you still do 5 months in? I know I still love my topic because it means I can listen to the accents of my home in Devon and Cornwall and that keeps me going when I just want to give up and go home. It’s just the same as running the London Marathon, think of all those runners by mile 18, exhausted, dripping with sweat and wanting to give up and lie down, but they don’t, because they’re running for a reason, for a charity they love and feel a passion for, it’s exactly the same. When you want to give up and never open your laptop screen ever again, remember how amazing it will feel with that medal around your neck, recovering with a metallic blanket wrapped around you. It’ll be so worth it.

Of course, I’m not saying you can never have a break from your diss, because if we didn’t I don’t think anyone would want to wake up in the morning and put their running shoes on. We need breaks to refresh and recover. But like all runners, we may come across setbacks, and that’s ok if you find yourself sat on the bed eating a 200g bar of Dairy Milk chocolate at 10 pm, its ok. I definitely haven’t done that! If you feel like you’re not getting anywhere, take a short break, do some exercise, go for a walk, have a nap, or eat some chocolate. Can you tell which my favourite is? Then go back and try again, restart from a new place in your work from where you left off. And most importantly, believe in yourself! You can do it! Setbacks aren’t always a bad thing, they direct you to the next race and can push you further to reaching that goal. Of course, most importantly, never forget, that we’re going through this together, we’re here to support one another, we need to be pulling each other through this.

Motivation is definitely my biggest downfall with my dissertation, the thought of opening my word document and writing all those words makes me want to cry some days, it can be so overwhelming. But the one thing that kicks me into shape is imagining the day we get our feedback on our dissertations, and not getting the grade I want, I don’t want a feeling of disappointment to overtake me, I want to feel proud that I worked hard for what I have achieved.

While I was doing my GCSE’s my dad told me, work hard now because you don’t want to get to results day and wish you tried harder because you can’t go back and do it again. Imagine yourself in November later this year, where we’re all stood together at the racecourse with our caps and gowns on taking a celebratory photo that we can look back on for years to come, feeling so proud of what we have achieved. This always motivates me to get working now, because I know that we can’t redo it, time will eventually run out.

I know some of these things can be easier said than done, but remembering that our dissertations are a marathon, not a sprint is so important. It will be so hard to write all 10,000 words in a short amount of time if you leave it too late, so finding the motivation now is really crucial. Whether you have your own method I may not have covered, using each other for motivation, working in a study group, remembering why you wanted to do your topic and why you love it, taking breaks, imagining the feeling once you’ve received your grades or the feeling on graduation day, or just plain working hard, I hope you’ve found some motivation from me today, or are already working well on your way, because soon we are going to cross the finish line, and there won’t be a chance to turn back.

I hope you found this motivational, even if it’s not for a dissertation, but an essay, or something you’re working hard for! I love trying to keep a positive space and keep people feeling motivated, so go over to my Instagram, where I motivational daily posts. 

Love Jaz x

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