As I am in my final year, I am writing a dissertation. Before Christmas I felt really on track- I was excited about what I was writing, I found it reasonably easy to take notes and type up my findings. However, coming back after Christmas has been a different experience. I have no idea why, but I feel like I’ve hit a wall. I was sat at my laptop for hours but writing hardly anything and would end up feeling really discouraged. Our final draft is due in seven weeks and I began to get anxious about being stuck in this rut and not getting out of it. I am aiming to get high marks on this and the rest of my work this year and I could not continue this way if I was going to achieve those goals.
This week, I thought I would share some of the ways that I have tried to get back into the swing of uni work again.
- Change it up
My first piece of advice, and what helped me most, was moving from the topic I was writing about to another one. In my case, I had been writing about women in chocolate advertising for a long time and felt stuck, so I stopped and moved on to something else. This sounds simple, but I am quite a methodical person and like to work in chunks and topics one at a time and move on when they are finished, so moving on mid-subject wasn’t easy but it ended up helping me the most.
- Move location
If you’ve been stuck at your desk for hours, then maybe moving locations will help? In my previous years at UCB I’ve worked in my room, the library, the museum tearooms and Waterstones’ café. Sometimes a fresh setting can help you feel less stuck and give you renewed motivation. I find that if my motivation is high, then I find it easier to push through times when I don’t know what to write.
- Take breaks
If you are really stuck, stop and take a break. Don’t give up completely but go for a walk or read a non-uni book or watch one of your favourite short television programmes. If you keep going when motivation is low, you might just get more frustrated and give up sooner. But if you have a short break, in the same way that changing locations may help, you can approach your task again with fresh eyes, feeling rested.
- Seek help
If nothing is working, I’d recommending seeing your tutor/year manager. They may be able to go through the task again with you and explain what your next steps need to be, or how they would approach the task.
I hope this has helped, if you have any more tips then please do share them in the comments!
Until next time,