How To: Get through your dissertation

1. Treat yourself.

Chocolate, alcohol, lashings of loud music and a treat to look forward to at the end. (Andy James)


2. Stagger the work.

Don’t start the weekend before, do a little bit every week. Even if you can only get down 50 words, that’s 50 words done! Maddie, I’m looking at you. (Kitkat Anderson, TFC Writer)


3. Choose something you like.

Don’t please the teacher, please yourself. By which I mean, pick a topic that is relevant to your chosen goals as a creative professional and also your passion, even if it’s not how you started. (Ngaire Ruth)

You have to write a lot and research a lot. If it’s about something you’re not interested in, you’re more likely to get bored or come to a dead end. (Mandy, ACM Business Student)


4. Ask for help.

Go to your mentor even if you have no more work to show. They can prompt you in realising you actually did have questions that your dumb-ass didn’t realise you had. (Mandy, ACM Business Student)


5. Read the criteria!

READ THE CRITERIA! Or you might find out that you’ve spent the last 37 hours of work writing something completely irrelevant or unnecessary… (Kitkat Anderson, TFC Writer)


6. Be prompt with primary research.

Get your surveys out early! In the last month or so, everyone is posting links on their socials. Get it done before the masses and you might actually get a decent number of participants. Believe me, I learnt the hard way. (Anon. ACM Performance Student)


7. Delegate.

If you have to read the same text as a friend, ask for their notes. Thank you, Kitkat… (Anon. ACM Business Student)


8. Feel productive.

Printing things out and putting them in a folder can make you feel really productive. You won’t get much work done, though… (Nicole Sweetman, TFC Writer)


9. Take a break.

Break every hour for a pint. (Max B, TFC Writer)

Take a break, have a KitKat. (Mandy, ACM Business Student, to Kitkat Anderson)

Wow, so original. (Kitkat Anderson, TFC Writer, to Mandy)


10. Don’t force it.

If nothing is coming out, don’t try to force yourself. Take a break or do some more research if you really feel the need to be working. If you force it, it won’t come. (Anon. ACM Creative Artist Student)


11. Cry. Just cry.

Have a good cry every week or so. It’s very therapeutic. (Nicole Sweetman, TFC Writer)


12. Snack!

Have a stock of instant ramen and crisps. If you’re really interested in your topic, you’ll get lost in it and forget that you haven’t eaten in three days and it’s 11pm on a Sunday and all the shops are shut and all you have in the house is a variety of spreads with nothing to put them on. Not that I’m speaking from experience at all… (Kitkat Anderson, TFC Writer)

Beer! And writing after one drink and one drink only. Also a box of sweets/chocolates to reward yourself after every 50 words. When you feel sick, you’ve written enough for the day! (Anneli James)

Pickled onion crisps. Enough said. (Judith Gibbons)


13. Nicotine?

If you smoke, don’t. Vape instead! No more, popping out for a fag break every 20 minutes, now you can constantly vape indoors. Productivity! (Nicole Sweetman, TFC Writer)


13. Procrastinate.

If none of this works for you, wait until 3am of the morning when it’s due in. The pressure makes you more focused! (Emma Strahan)

But don’t blame us if you fail… (Kitkat Anderson, TFC Writer)


14. Do you.

After all that, I’m going to tell you to forget everything that has been mentioned above. Do what works for you! If you have a system that has got you good grades every time for the past however many years, don’t suddenly chuck that out of the window and try something that works for somebody else. (Kitkat Anderson, TFC Writer)


Also, to cheer you up here is a picture of Ngaire Ruth’s cat, FleaB, learning how to correctly use different coloured highlighting (and clearly rather bored)!

Take FleaB's approach. Use three different highlighters for specifics of research, e.g. quotes, things you want to paraphrase, references of further reading. And chill. But not too much like Vronsky.


Good luck with your dissertations from everyone here at TFC!

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