Many students (like myself) struggle to balance working, resting and having a social life during the semester, but this seems to have become even harder now that summer has arrived! I didn’t seem to have this problem last year because I wasn’t really assigned to do anything over the summer in first year… but this year, I should really be getting started on my dissertation plans and research! I finished exams over a month ago, and to be brutally honest, I have done absolutely nothing that has related to uni work! To combat continuing this, I have set out some ideas for how I am going to get work done whilst still enjoying my summer break. Hopefully you might be able to make use of some of these as well!
- Reading on holiday!
I am fortunate enough to be going away to Cornwall next week with my boyfriend’s family, and again to Northumberland with my family in August. As a dissertation should be based on something you have a large interest in, it should be easy for students to find a book which they can read and use as research, whilst enjoying it on the beach or in the evenings etc. I am hoping that by trying to do this next week, I will be getting so into the things that I am reading, that I will then want to continue this when I return home!
- Setting out working times and days/weeks
By planning out exactly when you are going to do uni work or dissertation research, you are also able to plan time to relax and enjoy socialising a lot more regularly and without those occasional feelings of guilt! You could do this by deciding to do uni work for example: every other week, on weekdays, from 9AM-5PM (or something like that!).
- Using dissertation work to explore!
Some dissertations require primary research such as surveying or interviews. This can give students the opportunity to travel further afield to meet people or survey what is required. It might be fun to plan some travelling in and around this – for example, if someone were to be looking at the north/south divide in the UK, it might be fun to organise to spend some time visiting and exploring places you haven’t been before in and around the work that needed doing! Alternatively, if only secondary research is necessary, it may be worth hopping on a bus/train to a nearby city and using their library to see if there are any works/texts which aren’t available closer to you, and whilst there, seeing what’s around that you might not have seen before. None of this has to be too expensive if you do adequate research! Maybe drag a few friends or family members along with you too!
These are just a few ideas of how to make dissertation or uni work slightly more fun, but I’m sure there are many more you can think of if you put your mind to it. Hopefully this has helped you realise that not all work has to be though of as boring, as coming up with these ideas has certainly motivated me to put more effort in and begin my research next week!