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07/07 Dissertation Progress: SUBMITTED

7 Sep

  • Relief.

Check out the other posts in this series under the category “MA Dissertation” on the sidebar. 

06/09 Dissertation Progress: my entire being HURTS

6 Sep

  • It feels like I’m drowning and yet I know that if I bob up and down really hard for a little while longer, I’ll make it to shore and I’ll survive, etc etc.
  • Fits of panic, a few meltdowns.
  • Having a few problems with my word limit. I was fine, but suddenly I’m not, but it might be OK, I don’t know.
  • I walked into an AUTOMATIC SLIDING DOOR yesterday. How is that even possible?
  • I don’t have time/words to include some extra stuff, which is a shame.
  • Lots of thoughts about fonts, and margins, and other stuff.
  • Still need to edit half the dissertation’s footnotes.
  • My sanity is being held in place by my boyfriend (who brings me his massive headphones so I can listen to soothing music while working at the postgraduate study room) and my most amazing friend in Malta who is Chief Proofreader, Chief Encourager, and Chief Best Person. <3
  • Since the word count doesn’t really matter any more for the purposes of this blog, let’s have a BANANA CHIP COUNT.
  • Current amount of banana chips eaten today: approximately 273 banana chips!
  • I am turning into a banana chip.

04/09 Dissertation Progress: slightly terrified

4 Sep


  • Only three days to go. Madness.
  • I’m at around 18,000 words.
  • I still need to: finish writing my conclusion, edit/re-write a few chunks, add references to certain things, add a few extra bits here and there, proofread, fix up footnotes, fix up the bibliography, get the formatting right, prepare a contents page + cover page + acknowledgements page.
  • And then I need to upload it online, print out two copies, bind those two copies, and finally hand them in at the department.
  • Today’s goal is (1) conclusion, (2) editing and re-writing, (3) adding references to certain things, (4) adding a few extra bits here and there.
  • I’m exhausted.
  • Cinnamon rolls are an excellent way to start the day, however.
  • On Sunday I went to a BBQ out in the sun, and then rowing in the River Wear! <3 AND I GOT MY LEGS OUT.
  • Today needs to be mega productive, clearly.

01/09 Dissertation Progress: only 6 days to go…

1 Sep

  • Oh dear. It’s September. Deadline month, deadline week. Only 6 days to go.
  • I’m at around 14,000 words. The rest of it is more or less planned out.
  • My sleeping patterns are getting worse and worse. To the point where now I have to struggle to do work because I’m so lethargic. Today is a bit better though.
  • Currently planning the next 6 days, roughly. I aim to spend Wednesday and Thursday fixing up footnotes, my bibliography, and other things like the contents page, acknowledgements, and the cover page. Friday will be all about printing and binding and uploading and HANDING THINGS IN.
  • So that leaves the next few days to finish the rest of the writing, and then I have lots of plans for changes I want to make to the chapters I’ve already written.
  • Thankfully, I seem to be sticking to (self-imposed) chapter word limits pretty solidly. That’s one extra thing to not worry about, since usually I go WELL over word limits, which means I’d need to spend extra hours just trimming it down.
  • I had another meeting with my supervisor yesterday which was also very encouraging, but I was so completely tired; it felt like my body had almost shut down. I ended up going home afterwards and sleeping (with uncomfortable dreams) for 3 hours. Then I stayed up till 3am but couldn’t really work, so I just started fixing up my bibliography. Today I woke up at about 10am, and I haven’t done anything dissertation-related yet, but I’ve done things like clean the kitchen, do the dishes, etc.
  • As I said, right now I’m planning the next few days. Hopefully things will be OK.

28/08 Dissertation Progress: 3 steps back, 1 step forward

28 Aug

  • Ughhhh. I did very little between Friday evening and Wednesday (today) morning.
  • BUT I have finished the chapter I wanted to finish, and a super-lovely friend looked through it and gave it a thumbs up. Phew. Still need to fix up a few parts of it, and footnotes and formatting are not even close to being fixed up, but at least the chapter is mostly done.
  • Still having trouble sleeping and lots, lots, lots of nightmares.
  • My next task is to attack the most important chunk of my dissertation. I started doing that today, and I wrote about 200 words, but I’ve realised that my plan for the chapter is just (1) too long, (2) too bitty, (3) not including enough primary source material.
  • So tomorrow and Thursday need to be super-mega productive, so I can have the bulk of this chapter done.
  • Constantly feeling tired and apathetic. At least I had a lovely lunch with a friend today (fancy pancakes!) and then went on the Most Successful Shopping Trip Ever at Tesco’s, where I spent the grand total of £1.77 and bought a PACKED BAG of stuff (including 6 bread rolls, packs of cut-up fruit, and a bouquet of flowers! – and that’s barely half of it).
  • It’s so cold in this country. Shivering in long sleeves and leggings.
  • More-or-less finalised word count = 9,000 words (even though I have more, but I need to chop off a few hundred). Real percentage of the dissertation done (minus final editing, footnotes, formatting, and all that extra stuff) = about 40%.
  • Let’s get to 60% tomorrow, please.

25/08 Dissertation Progress: reassured optimism

25 Aug


  • Less than two weeks to go.
  • Approximate word count is around 9,000.
  • Feedback on my introduction and literature review has been encouraging and very helpful.
  • I’ve found a certain work flow… Working at computer rooms and study rooms outside my room has helped.
  • A meeting with my supervisor yesterday was so incredibly good for me. Definitely feeling less panicky and more reassured.
  • Next step is to finish my first draft of a chapter I’m working on this weekend.
  • Then a few days of hardcore work on the bulkiest part of my dissertation, and I’ll go on from there.
  • Sleeping is a bit of a problem – I’m having awful nightmares about dissertation disasters, and it takes me a really long time to get to sleep.
  • I’m still a bit anxious about everything, but if I manage to be gradually productive, it should all be fine.

21/08 Dissertation Progress – 7,000 words of incoherence?

21 Aug


  • So I didn’t manage to finish a coherent draft of my 5,000 word chunk as mentioned in my previous progress post, but I have that amount in a jumbled manner, which I’m currently piecing together in a coherent whole. Hoping to finish it and send it later on today. It doesn’t need to be perfect, Claire.
  • My sleeping patterns and energy levels have been fluctuating very oddly during the past few days.
  • Doing dishes is the bane of my life, but I’ve been on top of it by doing big batches every day/day-and-a-half.
  • I put on a little weight since moving to Durham last year, but now I’m putting on MORE weight throughout this silly dissertation-writing process. UGH.
  • My attempt at writing the introductory paragraph in a manner which is true to me failed MISERABLY.
  • I’ll update again once I’ve sent the finished chapter draft to my supervisor, and have a better idea of my word count and predicament. (The word count overall currently stands at around 7,000 words. Pretty significant.)