1 Muzahn

Write Dissertation In 2 Days

Sometimes life deals you a crappy hand and at the end of a long, somewhat bizarre chain of actions-and-consequences you end up abandoning all the plans you’d been working on for months, and you’re left with one week to write your dissertation. Sometimes you’re just really f*cking lazy and god who even knows how to start on this shit, and you’re left with one week to write your dissertation. Sometimes both of these things are true, and you’re – you guessed it – left with one week to write your dissertation.

r u kidding me human
(This is how the actual cat I live with actually looks at me.)

I used to protest when people said things to me like, “Why am I even asking you about the essay? You’re probably not gonna even start till the day before it’s due.” I know I’m a bad student, see – I don’t usually do more than the bare minimum I need to hold my own in class – but I’d like to think I’m not that bad.

Now though? Now I’m learning to embrace this. ‘Cause you guys, I’m beginning to realise that I’m actually really good at getting things done at the last minute. It isn’t even panic that motivates me – things that stress me out include “bra shopping,” “heterosexuality” and “these goddamn moths,” not school assignments of no real consequence in the Grand Scheme of Things – but rather that I’m really good at pacing myself once I can see the deadline as clearly as a hard brick wall in front of me.

So today we’re going to talk about tackling 10,000 words of amateur academia in a week. There will be Netflix and kittens and not half as much caffeine as you’d expect. Get your game face on.

Getting Started

Put on some pants. (Both the British and the American kind.) Or a bra, or some shoes. Maybe a button-down shirt? Whatever it is that makes you feel like you’re doing Real Work even though you’re gonna be cooped up indoors for a week. Have you checked out our Autostraddle store? I did my entire dissertation while alternating between the red and blue A-Camp hoodies, so clearly there’s magic in them.

Set up your work situation. I have a typewriter and an endless supply of A5 MUJI notebooks to work through first drafts. When you’re working on the computer, I recommend Todoist, 30/30 and Self-Control. (I’ll admit the last one wasn’t always 100% foolproof for me, so as a back-up plan I also suggest “surrendering control of your Facebook account to your partner.”)

Go grocery shopping. No, seriously, you’re running a marathon here, not a sprint – if you’re breaking out the instant noodles from day one, you’re not gonna make it. Here’s what I prepared (mostly) in advance and kept within craving distance, in decreasing order of difficulty of preparation:

  • Curry & rice/quinoa
  • Roasted vegetables & pasta
  • Hummus & pita/carrot sticks
  • Oatmeal & fresh fruits
  • Walkers salt & vinegar crisps (shh they were on sale)

Along the course of the week I also acquired two whole cakes (it was my birthday), an 8-pack of Kit Kat Chunky bars (also on sale) and a bag of salted peanuts. All of them were regrettable decisions. STICK TO THE PLAN.

Getting Down To It

Plan! Again! And then some more! It’s tempting to play it by ear when you’re so close to the deadline and frustrated by feeling you’re getting nowhere on the word count, but it is way worse to realise you have no idea where you’re going 3,000 words in. Fan of linear essay plans? Use Google Docs or TextEdit or something, no need to get too fancy. (I actively discourage getting fancy when planning.) Need something more expansive? I like MindMup. Can’t decide? Check out Text 2 Mindmap.

Pace yourself. Plan your work schedule, too: know how much you need to get done and by when, and be realistic about how much you can achieve in a day. Definitely take breaks, but remember that you absolutely cannot afford to be losing momentum this week.

Get your sh*t together (literally). I use a combination of Dropbox (check out alternatives if you don’t like the thought of Condoleezza Rice hovering over your cloud storage), GoodReader, and lugging library books in an an 18-litre cycling backpack everywhere to make sure I have absolutely no excuse to not be writing no matter where I am. Few things are a stronger motivation to get your thesis done than an aching back.

Write. Just do it. I believe in you.

Keeping It Going

Feed your face. Caffeine is not our friend. Well okay maybe caffeine is your friend (it probably is, isn’t it) but it definitely isn’t mine. Caffeine heightens my anxiety considerably while taking me through unstable highs and terrible crashes, so I look to alternative ways of keeping my energy up:

As a general rule, avoid sugar, alcohol and fatty foods. Eat plenty of protein, slow-burning carbs, and iron-rich foods. Plan your meals and space them out. This is probably good advice for life in general, but let’s be real, you’re a student – you can have pizza next week, okay? You can have ten.

Sleep well, but nevermind sleeping at the “right” times. You know what works best for you, and now’s not the best time to coax your sleep cycle into something that it’s not. I slept mainly from 5am to 2pm, only entering the school library after 10pm when everyone else was gone.

Musics! For college-themed aural pleasures (yeah I said it), can I recommend Maddie’s Surviving Finals, Rachel’s You Have So Much Grading To Do, and Intern Grace’s I’ve Got A Crush on Your Dumb Face? Oh, hey, I’m the only one here whose inappropriate feelings for unavailable women intensify as deadlines approach? Right. Well then. Moving along.

IT’S FOUCAULT’S HISTORY OF SEXUALITY THAT’S MAKING ME BLUSH, I SWEAR, NOT YOU
via Shutterstock

Netfliiiiix. I’m not kidding. TV series – in this case, Orange is the New Black and Suits, plus Laura has plenty of suggestions to realise your inner couch potato – help me work through longer assignments because they’re an integral part of my self-reward system. (Sometimes when I say “reward” I really mean “binge indulgence,” but that’s okay. At least I put a bra on, right?)

Remember: you’re okay. The best advice I got was “you’re writing a dissertation, not changing the world.” Keep at it and it’s okay if things are less than perfect. Your brain is going to feel like it’s melting all the time and you will be so tired but also there’ll be those moments when you’ll really get it, like really get it, and you’re a smart, competent human who’s done so many smart, competent things and this will be just one more of those things. Not getting it right now? Take a step back and breathe. Curl up in bed for a while, or take a walk, or text your favourite human/s.

The second best advice I got was “THINK OF HOW GOOD IT’LL FEEL TO RETURN ALL THE LIBRARY BOOKS.” And it does, trust me. It feels so good.

The Final Stretch

Last 24 hours? Now forget everything I said earlier. Is there not coffee in your hand RIGHT NOW? Is it in your MOUTH yet? THERE IS NO WAY THAT IS ENOUGH CAFFEINE IN YOUR BLOODSTREAM. There’s no more food left in your flat except canned soup and Twisties and lol, “sleep.” You’re going to see through the sunset and sunrise but you’re not gonna see either of them because you’re not looking at anything except your computer screen for eight straight hours. Yes you are doing horrible things to your body. DON’T THINK ABOUT IT. The world impatiently awaits what you have to say about postmodernist thought in Korean variety shows, you special weirdo.

Crossing The Finish Line

YOU’RE A GODDAMN CHAMPION. Look at you, accomplished human! You did read the submission instructions at least thrice, right? Clicked the second button on Moodle? Yes? Okay good job. That one sticky bit in the third chapter is probably going to bug you for a bit, but don’t think about it anymore – it’s nothing a good TV marathon or 16 hours of sleep can’t fix.

Before you head off to rejoin the human world (or hang out with your cat all weekend, that’s cool too), consider donating to or volunteering with a related charity/activist group. I know this is a weird suggestion to make, but hear me out here: I’m gonna guess that a lot of you will be writing theses on social justice topics, and while academia is important, it’s not activism. In fact, it’s quite likely you’ll be building on the work of organisers who first lay the groundwork and who are still at it today. Like I said earlier, you’re writing a dissertation, not changing the world – but supporting groups who work towards the same world that you want to see is an important first step to bridging the academy and broader society.

Now go forth and celebrate, champ. You’ve earned it.



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Fikri

Fikri has written 61 articles for us.

One of the biggest challenges that a student will face in their academic career is writing their dissertation. If you thought producing standard essays was a challenge, then just wait until you are faced with a dissertation! Students are required to produce an extended piece of writing based on a research topic of their choosing. It differs from a regular essay in that it features several chapters and appendices and that it is often required to presented as a professionally bound piece of work. The length of a dissertation varies from one university to the next, and even within different areas of study, but you can expect to be asked to write somewhere in the region of 10,000 to 30,000 words. As you have probably realised by now, this is a project that is going to dominate a large percentage of your time over the course of several months. However, there are those who say that it is not necessary to spend so much time on it and that a dissertation can be written within as little as 2 weeks. We thought we would take a closer look to see if this is actually possible, or if it is a college myth!

Is 2 Weeks Really Long Enough?

When you consider the importance of a dissertation and the fact that it can be the difference between obtaining your degree and not, the question is not so much can you write a dissertation in 2 weeks, but should you? Students are known for being masters of procrastination, but with something this important it probably isn’t a great idea to leave it to the last minute. We would always advise getting started on your dissertation as early as possible in order to produce your best possible piece of work.

Is it Possible to Write A Dissertation in 2 Weeks?

However, just because something is not advisable that doesn’t necessarily mean that it cannot be done! If you find yourself in the situation where you only have a few weeks left then there is no point in telling you that you should have started sooner! For whatever reason, you only have two weeks left, so all you can do is use that time wisely. It is possible to achieve it, but it is going to take 2 solid weeks of hard work and planning with zero procrastination!

How to Write Your Dissertation in 2 Weeks

If you are going to write your dissertation in 2 weeks, then the first step is creating a solid plan. You will need to divide up your time in order to make sure you do everything that you have to do, so the best place to start is writing a to do list of all of the tasks that relate to your dissertation. You are going to need to allow the last 2 days for printing and binding your finished piece of work, so that leaves you 12 days for research and writing. Let’s break that down in manageable chunks using the following tips.

  • Start of by allocating the first 2 or 3 days to some intensive research. Collect all of your materials in these first few days and start making notes in preparation for actually writing your dissertation.
  • With your research out of the way you will need to set yourself a daily target. Assuming that you are completing a 10,000 word essay you can divide your word count up over the next 9 days. That;s just over 1,000 words per day – or 1,111 to be exact! Writing 1,000 words a day seems like it is much more manageable than 10,000 in 9 days, doesn’t it?
  • The best time to write is first thing in the morning. Try to get into the habit of getting up and writing your 1,000 words straight away. That leaves you the rest of the day for additional research, proofreading and editing.
  • Don’t limit yourself to 1,000 words per day. If you are really in the flow of writing your dissertation then keep on going with it. It’s not unrealistic to be able to write 2,000 words in a day if you are in the zone. This will allow you to finish writing earlier, or make up for those days when you really struggle to make your target!
  • At the end of your 9 days you should have your 10,000 words and you still have a day left over to proofread and edit before printing and binding your finished dissertation!

Writing a dissertation in 2 weeks is not the recommended way to tackle this important assignment, but it is possible if you find yourself with no other choice. Don’t forget, that if you are struggling to keep up with your schedule, then you could also turn to a professional Dissertation Writing Service.

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