How To: Survive Your Dissertation

How To: Survive Your Dissertation

Ever since I began my first year of University, three years ago, the thought of writing my dissertation petrified me. I'd begin to notice the influx of students in the library around March-April time and I'd dread to think that soon, that would be me. However, I am pleased to announce that I did survive my disserataion and on Saturday 14th April, I ~hesitantly~ handed it in. 

For those of you who don't know, I study Psychology at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). For my dissertation, I conducted a research study into the factors that make people susceptible to phishing scams and primarily, why people click on phishing emails, which I found to be very interesting which of course helped, a lotI remember when my supervisor told me that I had to gain 40 UCLan student participants for my research project and my immediate reaction was: 
"But I don't even know 40 UCLan students, let alone have 40 friends!" 
But somehow I did it, and I will be forever grateful for all those people who did give up their time to help me complete my research! Although I am yet to find out my grade for my dissertation, I thought I would share with you a few tips for surviving, what can be a very stressful time at University, which hopefully you might find helpful. 

1. Choose a topic that interests you

 If you aren't passionate, or at least interested in the topic you are writing about, that it going to show through your writing and effect your overall grade. For my dissertation, my word count was 8,000 words and I submitted my dissertation with 7,998 words which just shows how interested I was and how much I had to say about the topic. It's going to be a long, painful final year if you are having to force yourself to research a topic if you are not the slightest bit interested in it. Don't choose a topic just because your friend is doing that and don't choose a topic based on your choice of supervisor. I mean it does help if your supervisor is someone you get along with, but it's not the end of the world and I definitely wouldn't choose a supervisor over the actual topic of your work.

Think of your dissertation as a chance to use all the knowledge that you have learnt throughout your degree on a topic of YOUR CHOICE and try and do something that interests you.

2. Start early

How To: Survive Your Dissertation

I began my dissertation in the October of my final year. For my course, there was a lot to do before you could even start the write-up of the dissertation so I was aware that I had to be really focused and motivated as soon as I started my final year. The first thing that I did was arrange a meeting with my supervisor and discuss what type of research I was going to conduct and how I wanted to conduct it. I decided I wanted to run a laboratory study instead of using a questionnaire, which also meant that it was going to be a more time-consuming process. I received ethical approval for my study and by Christmas, I had finished my data collection. 

After taking the Christmas break off to revise for my January exams (yes, there is no end when you hit final year), I began to analyse my data when I returned back to Uni in January. I knew that my data analysis was going to be very time-consuming due to the nature of my research project, so I tried to pace-myself and just work on it as much as I could. I did find that I was very stressed with my dissertation around January-March and that was by just doing my analysis. At that time, a handful of people on my course were still in the process of data-collection and so they were in full-blown panic mode! I can't imagine how stressed out they must have been with the draft deadline being in March.

 If you know you don't cope well with stress, like myself, then take action and start your dissertation as soon as you start your third year, or even begin research in the summer months. Trust me, it makes everything so much easier and it allows you to take it easy and have breaks, as opposed to rushing around and becoming frazzled, just like the stereotypical image of final-year students.

3. Utilise the help around you

Luckily for me, I got on really well with my disseration supervisor- I guess I gave her no choice really as I was always in her emails arranging meetings! If you have the option to do so, I'd really recommend communicating with your tutors and asking for help and feedback if you need it. I also asked my family to check over my final dissertation for any silly little grammatical errors that I may have missed, which could have consequently affected my final grade!


4. Be ready to submit your dissertation before the deadline day 

How To: Survive Your Dissertation

You may wonder why I said I was hesitant about handing in my dissertation. I'm presuming that for most of you reading this, you haven't yet handed in your dissertation and I can imagine you are properly thinking "surely handing it in is the biggest relief ever?"
 Speaking from my own experience, yes you are right it is. But it's also the most terrifying experience, as your dissertation sort of becomes a part of you. For me, I spent around 6 months writing my dissertation and by the end of it, I was terrified to hand it in and let someone else be the judge of such a massive piece of work. Handing in your disseration is a big deal and one that does leave you feeling attached and a little sentimental about the whole thing. To help with this, I'd suggest NOT leaving the submission of your dissertation until the last minute, and giving yourself some time to reflect, check over your work and feel 100% confident that you are submitting the best possible piece of work that you can do. This helps to alleviate that feeling of dread and panic as you hover over the 'submit' button, as you should hopefully feel proud of yourself and be ready to let it go.

5. Go for it

It may seem like the most impossible task at the time but the europhic feeling afterwards makes it all worthwhile. I am so proud of myself for completing my disseration and to a standard that I am really pleased with. No matter what my final grade is for this piece of work, I know what I could not have done anymore and thats all that matters! So go for it. Give it all that you've got and enjoy all the guilt-free celebrations later, like binge-watching Netflix until your hearts content.


Have you written your dissertation yet? How did you find it?

Thanks for reading!
Love,

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York Travel Guide

York Travel Guide


I suppose you could say that I hit the jackpot finding a boyfriend that lives in such a beautiful city - we certainly aren't bored when we travel to his family home for the weekend. York, as a city, has so much to offer. With its cobbled streets, cosy tea-rooms and shops and over 30 museums and attractions, York is the perfect destination for a mini-break. So I thought I would share with you a few of my favourite places to visit in York.

York's Chocolate Story

York Travel Guide

When Jack and I visited York's Chocolate Story we were in our element! It's a really interesting attraction where you attend a tour of the factory and learn all about the history of chocolate, whilst frequently getting to taste samples of chocolate- what's not to love? During the 90-minute tour, you also get to make your own chocolate lolly, which as you can see by our beaming smiles, clearly pleased us. They also have a chocolate-making demonstration which is interesting and again you get to then eat the chocolate. Need I say more? If you're a fan of chocolate and like to be fed, go here.

York Travel GuideYork Travel Guide


Jorvik Viking Centre

Admittedly, the last time I visited this attraction was years ago with my mum and grandma on a weekend trip to Harrogate, so it is bound to have changed, but I wanted to include it in this post as I do think it is one of York's most popular attractions. There always seems to be queues outside of the Viking Centre and I know that as I child, I really loved it. I still have the viking coin that they give you so I guess that makes me either super sentimental, or just a massive hoarder.

York Minster

York Minster

You can't miss the York Minster. It's such a beautiful cathedral which towers over the city, containing underground tunnels where you can explore the history of York. If you can manage to climb nearly 300 steps, the York minster has a tower where you have the best/highest view of York city. The perfect place to visit to get those all important insta pics!

Cliffords Tower

York Travel Guide

By the centre of town, near all the shops and a car park, stands Cliffords Tower. If you climb a steep flight of stairs, you can also view the city of York in all its glory. I recommend visiting this tower if you are interested in medieval history as this tower has been burned to the ground twice, so now it is all that remains of the castle that was originally built by William the Conqueror.

York Boat

York Travel Guide

Like in many cities, York has open-top buses travelling around the city frequently. But what I really like about York, is the York boat on the River Ouse. Traipsing around York all day can really take its toll on your feet so on our first weekend together in York (when I didn't wear suitable footwear for the cobbled streets) Jack and I took to the York Boat, kicked back and relaxed, whilst also allowing me to sightsee and learn lots about the city's history.

York Travel Guide


Harry Potter Shop


York is home to three Harry Potter shops which sell Harry Potter merchandise. My favourite is 'The Shop That Must Not Be Named' which is located on the Shambles, in the centre of York. I was really lucky to capture the picture below of the store, as usually there is a queue of visitors waiting to go in! If you're a Harry Potter fan, I highly recommend visiting at least one of the shops! I also want to add how friendly the staff are at this shop. The staff are all dressed up as Witches and Wizards which really adds to the experience.

York Travel Guide

Harry Potter Shop

Bettys Tea Room

I can't talk about York without mentioning the infamous Betty's Tea Room- and the infamous queues (see below). I highly recommend visiting Betty's Cafe for afternoon tea, although I suggest you book in advance and save up a few pennies beforehand, as it is not cheap!

York Travel Guide


Have you ever been to York? Do you have any suggestions of places in York where I can drag Jack to visit with me next?

Thank you for reading!
Love,

 Don't forget to follow me:

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Life Update



It feels strange to be writing in 1st person, using colloquial language and not writing on Word. I guess thats what comes with being a final year student. I really enjoy writing on my Blog, as I'm sure you all are aware, but lately I've been struggling not only to find the time to blog, but also the motivation to do so. I guess the pressure of being a third-year student has really got to me and I've struggled to keep up with everything. 

Although the complete motivation isn’t quite there yet, as I am in the midst of my exams, I am enjoying slowly jumping back on the blogging bandwagon and planning some upcoming content. I guess blogging is returning back to being an outlet and an escape from the Uni work again.


My lectures all finished last week and now it's only around four weeks left until I sit my last ever exam and say goodbye to Preston for good. Right now it's all feeling very bittersweet. I can't wait to finish my degree and graduate in the summer and begin the next chapter of my life, but I also hate change and after three years of routine and being a Uni student, the outside world all seems very daunting. I also am dreading leaving my friends, my job and this city behind. Over the past three years, everything has just become 'home' to me and, if I'm completely honest, who doesn't love living a two minute walk away from Primark?

I've heard from a few of my friends who graduated last year that it is very difficult to keep in touch with your friends after you leave Uni as everyone goes their separate ways and you aren't all living in the same area anymore. I'm really not looking forward to those goodbyes but I'm really going to put a lot of effort into keeping the friendships that I have made over the past years. I know thats easier said than done and I am preparing myself for the amount of effort that is going to be required to do so, but I think it's important to hold onto those people that make a positive difference in your life and make you feel good. No matter how hard is it, I'm going to at least try to maintain the friendships. 
(It's down in writing now anyway so I guess theres no excuse!)


On a brighter note, I have lots of exciting plans planned for after I finish Uni. A few days after my last exam, I am heading home for a spa day with my mum and my sisters which couldn't be anymore perfectly planned. Then I am seeing James Bay in Manchester the following week and then less than two weeks after I have finished, I am jetting off to the Canary Islands for a week of sun and RE-LAX-ATION

Hopefully my blogging mo-jo will return in full-swing after I finish Uni but for now, please just bear with me 🙏🏻

Thanks for reading!
Love,

Don't forget to follow me:

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