As one group of students celebrate handing in their dissertations, another are preparing to march in to battle. 

If you’re heading into your final year this September, you’re probably already thinking about the big D.

Whether you’ve already submitted a proposal, or have no clue what you’ll write 10,000 words about, you know you’ve got a mammoth task ahead.

To help ease some of your woes, we’ve compiled a list of all the things we wish we knew before we started writing. 

#1 Start work as soon as your proposal is accepted

That might be before the summer break or much later in the year, either way you’ll need as much time as you can get. I know people who waited until after Christmas to start their and didn’t get the grades they hoped for.

#2 Get to know your supervisor

They will be an invaluable source of information, inspiration and support. Respect their feedback, and take any criticism on the chin; they’re on your side. And don’t forget to thank them in the acknowledgements! 

#3 On the other hand..

if your supervisor isn't right for you, then request to change to somebody else. As long as your reasons are legitimate, this should be perfectly fine.

#4 You will freak out

Meltdown. Cry. Shout. And threaten to start all over again. Or quit altogether.

Your dissertation will be the most important thing you have ever done (academically speaking) and it’s really stressful!

Just remember that these reactions are perfectly healthy, and that junk food and an evening in front of Netflix is the ultimate cure. 

#5 Technology will be your best friend and your worst enemy

The internet has tons of excellent resources, there are great apps for organising your time and when you need a break, YouTube will provide cat videos galore.

But your computer will crash, the printer will jam and you’ll get headaches from staring at screens.

Prepare for every eventuality; keep secure backups of all your work in Dropbox or Google Drive, insure your laptop and buy extra supplies of printer ink!

#6 Your dissertation will occupy every waking, and sleeping, thought

When you’re not working on it, you’ll be thinking about it or talking about. And you will definitely dream about it. 

#7 Stay healthy

If you don’t prepare in advance it’s really easy to let it all go. Eat vegetables, try to get enough sleep, drink lots of water and don’t ever feel guilty about taking a day off.

#8 Your family and non-student friends will feign interest 

but would probably rather talk about anything else. That might sound harsh but it actually lets you escape the dissertation for a while so embrace it.

#9 Getting your dissertation printed and bound will cost you more than a night out at the Union

Unfortunately this is just a cost that has to be eaten, and there isn't really anything you can do about it.

#10 When you finally hand it in you will realise that all the hard work was worth it

You should be really proud of what you’ve achieved and celebrate accordingly! Or sleep for a week...

If you have any comments, suggestions or questions about my post, please leave your message below.