June 2018: An insight into my dissertation

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Exams are done and it feels amazing! It’s a strange feeling to think that this is the last exam I will ever take, but despite the hard work it has truly all been worth it! Although the last few weeks of April and first week of May were the busiest of the year, I’m happy to say my exam schedule allowed me proper time to prep.

I really enjoyed the second semester because I got to select elective units that I’m interested in and also had a bit more flexibility in terms of taking exams. For instance, two of my units didn’t have exams, just coursework mixed with essays and group work, so it allowed me to have a different experience than the first semester (mainly exam based). Having two weeks between exams allowed me to study, but also have some rest and time to organize my schedule for the start of my dissertation.

As my last post mentioned, I was originally overwhelmed with the idea of a dissertation because it’s not common in the U.S. To shed light into the process, and how it specifically relates to this programme, I’m going to go into my schedule and work I’ve done thus far. As classes have ended, this is truly where all my time and energy is now focused.

The dissertation proposal was due May 21st and consisted of an overview, or what I like to think of as a plan, for my dissertation study. After assignments and before exams, I spent time working on the 3,000-word proposal, which including a lot of scholarly reading and secondary research to help build the proposal’s literature review. Although reading can be a bit daunting, especially if you have a lot of information on your topic, it does help in the long-term – for instance, the majority of my literature review will be used in my final dissertation. Within the proposal I also spoke about my qualitative methodology: primary data collection and my plan to interview academics that are specialists in my selected topic area. The Gantt chart has helped me to stay on track and has been useful in mapping out my schedule for the next few months.

I know myself, and I’m pretty good at sticking to a schedule. This period has definitely been challenging, however, in terms of trying to find the flow of doing enough work, but also pacing myself so I don’t get burnt out. My supervisor has been really helpful in terms of guiding me through my timeline, which is definitely an added bonus. As of now, I am working Monday-Thursday for a few hours each day on my dissertation, whether it’s further reading, outlining, or writing certain sections. Overall I suggest going somewhere where you know you’ll get enough done such as the library. My favourite study space in Manchester is the central library. Once you arrive in Manchester definitely check it out as a runner up to the infamous John Rylands library another must see and favourite study space in Manchester!

It’s hard to believe that these posts are soon coming to an end, as is this amazing year. For now, wish me luck on the upcoming dissertation period!

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