Tuesday, 11 October 2011

A different but honest approach to completing my MA Dissertation

On the 30th September I submitted my final piece of work for my MA in International Politics *emotional*. This doesn’t get marked until December and then I don’t graduate (if I pass it) until next year. Strange, but at least it is giving me time to save up some money and apply for the civil service, which I’m told is a looooong process.

I was surprisingly pretty relaxed about the whole dissertation marlarky. It was on a subject that was important to me – Disability; an international problem rather than an international concept. I think because I knew a bit about it already and I had a clear idea on what direction I wanted to take, I took a laid back approach to it. Probably not the best idea for a 15,000 word dissertation... but hey it’s done. On speaking to my tutor about the work I was doing and my progress, she’d often say “you sound scarily relaxed Louise” I replied, “well yeah I am, its fine, all I can do is work on it day and night and enjoy the process... you sound more worried than me” My tutor replied “well yes I am, I can’t even sleep!” I, feeling bad, started to comfort and give my tutor a pep talk on how it is our responsibility to get our work in and do it well...because I had all the time in the world of course.

I do wish I had started the writing process earlier than I did - as I only really scratched the surface of such a complex subject.

As I was saying everything was going swimmingly until ‘hand in day.’ At the very moment that the dissertation was taken out of my control and into the hands of another did things go wrong. I was actually under more stress than throughout the whole month I had been working on my dissertation.

Here is why: so that I didn’t have to deal with the stress of London transport, I ordered a taxi BUT the taxi company forgot to send a taxi. When I rang to see if it was on the way, they said “yeah it’s just round the corner”... still no taxi. 10 minutes later and my patience had run out. They said there were really sorry but had made a mistake and now ‘definitely’ dispatched a taxi. When the taxi did arrive I was in a terrible mood *poor taxi guy*.

A 20 minute journey took an hour and 20 minutes! Due to road works and me having to get cash out to pay for the taxi! For this I was charged £1! £1 for the privilege of getting my own money, out to pay for a taxi that was late...? Plus how am I meant to pay for something without getting money out?? I had this argument with the taxi cab who (in a joking manner) said that I should have had cash on me already... he should have known that I was not in the mood for jokes. *insert appropriate debate here*

My class and I had been told that the deadline was at 4pm – this was a ‘white lie’ by my tutor, in the hope that it would ensure that we were all definitely on time. This type of reverse psychology is not really appreciated by me, I prefer to know the real time as I knew that the humanities office was open till 5pm – by the time it got to 4pm and I was still stuck in traffic, I thought it was alllll over. Nope, when I rang the humanities office they said 5pm was fine.

I finally got to the library and printed out 2 copies, 50 pages each. The second copy came out smudged! I did not have any more printing credits. I frantically went to the help desk and told them what happened, they in their calm ‘stress free manner’ got someone to come down and print me out another copy – with my eyes constantly on the clock, I still had to bind the copies. As if I wasn’t stressed and impatient enough; the machine that binds your work needed to warm up! It was at this point that I thought; ‘is it really worth it?’ Silly question Louise, of course it is. So I stopped stressing out and from then everything seemed to go smoother. I managed to hand in my work 15 minutes before the deadline and saw my friend on the way who had only handed in 1 copy, so I saved her dissertation butt too.

I had handed in my dissertation. It took a while for it to sink in and I was not completely happy with the end result but I always think I could have done better. I sat down and had a moment to myself, I was happy. It was time to celebrate. I met up with some friends; we went for shisha in the remaining hours of sunlight and then off to the comedy club in Greenwich, which turns into a nightclub in the evening, party time! All in all, I woke up the next day, smiling and with a headache from fun rather than one from handing in a dissertation. Phew.