As someone who’s writing this blogpost as a break from dissertation writing, I know that keeping motivated at this stage in your Masters course is difficult. All your friends are out enjoying their summers and you’re stuck inside writing. Just because you’re almost finished, it doesn’t mean you should slack on your wellbeing! Here’s a few things I’m doing to keep happy and healthy this summer…
Reach out to other MA students
You might just be amazed at the power of one conversation to change your perspective of things. It’s good to have someone in the same situation as you to vent to, as there are some things you might prefer to talk to a friend about rather than your supervisor. I tend to reach out to someone every couple of weeks to inspire fresh ideas. A friend in the same situation as you can help and who knows, perhaps that person will need a chat just as much as you.
Not all your time needs to be spent in the library
Depending on the nature of your dissertation, so long as you just need a notepad and your laptop there is no reason why you need to work in the same library or bedroom every day. You can enjoy the perks of summer at the same time as writing your thesis by bringing your work with you. Take your laptop to a friend’s and have breaks walking the dog and watching Netflix. Take a drive out somewhere and work in a cafe you’ve never been to before. I have a friend who edited their dissertations next to the beach in Barcelona. If you just need your laptop and somewhere to plug in your charger, you don’t need to feel tied down to one place.
How healthy is your workspace?
Everybody is different for this one – I prefer to work where I’m comfy so this will usually be my bed with a cup of tea in arm’s reach. But when we’re sitting for hours on end it’s good to consider how we could make our workspace healthier for us. I recently did a full clean of my desk, clearing out my draws, moving away all the makeup and my mindset felt so much better, as if a weight had been lifted. I now have a work space rather than a storage space! Bedsides from cleaning your desk, perhaps you could pimp up your chair. My friend swapped his chair for a firm exercise ball to encourage better posture. Getting up every hour or so to pace around or fill up your water is also a good way to clear the mind and keep your body active.
Skype your supervisor
If you’re supervisor is happy to, suggest skyping them in order to have meetings so that you can work from home or other places. Keeping in contact regularly is ideal for you to ask those burning questions and receive feedback. Speaking face to face will be more productive than emailing, plus it gives you some motivation as you’ll need to have something good written for them. I’m finding setting deadlines with my supervisor really helpful to make sure I don’t leave everything until last minute.
Plan lots of socialising
Everyone needs downtime and writing a dissertation can feel like quite a solitary act. I’m scheduling in seeing friends, taking a walk out with my sister and planning weekend trips to simultaneously motivate me to get work done before then and give me some down time.
Remember, this is your thesis, your ideas, and your contribution to academia is valued, so enjoy it! Unless you’re carrying on to study at PhD level, this may be the last bits of time spent in academia. So make the most of these moments!