Dissertation over… exams done. What do I talk about now?

Our handy guide to filling the void in your life those 12,000 words have left

I was flooded with mixed emotions on finishing and handing in my dissertation last Wednesday.

First and second years: prepare yourselves. This is a piece of work you devote so much time and energy to (theoretically) it becomes so engrossing that there’s rarely a moment in the day, for the month or so leading up to it, that it’s not lingering somewhere at the back of your head.

So handing it —a huge relief. Obviously.

But all I’ve been talking about for the past 2 or so months has, if not explicitly, been about “how much work I’ve got”or “how the dissy’s coming on”.

Now I have neither. I met with a friend after we both handed in our dissertations for a lengthy Ram session.

Ironically, our conversation firstly encompassed how we have little else to talk about after which, promptly, following a brief moment of small-talk induced panic, we returned to the comfortable ground of dissertation chat.

What to do then?

1. Practice your small-talk

With anyone. Anywhere. A tramp. Shopkeeper. That weird old bloke who always has a pint of lager and reads The Mail at the same time, everyday. He may not be a psycho, and it may make his day. Preferably not someone at uni, or your own age. This may be an important skill for the mythical “workplace” we all one day have to enter.

Or if you’re really keen, chat to Manchester music legend Murkage Dave

2. Do something spontaneous

This is clichéd, obviously, but it gives you scope for achieving number 1.

I’m not saying run around the Forum naked, or steal as many overpriced baguettes from the Market Place as possible.

Maybe go for a cycle ride on Dartmoor. Visit the Exeter Underground Tunnels (from personal experience EVEN more interesting after a lunchtime bottle of Lobo Loco at the Firehouse.

Probably more fun than it looks here


Or do volunteering. I started doing it at a great new initiative “The Book Cycle”and it’s certainly given me fresh material to bore people with…whilst sounding thoroughly self-righteous.

3. Go back home and crawl into a whole and watch 40 episodes of Friends straight

Somewhat guilty of this one.

Let’s be honest, you were doing this instead of writing your dissy anyway

4. Take up a new sport

Anything to fill the dead space between hangovers

Or return to one you used to play. I played a game of tennis yesterday for the first time in 3/4 years to curb by boredom.

5. Read that book you’ve always meant to

War and Peace? Anna Karenina? The Satanic Verses? Perfect for some typically dull, but non-dissy related dinner table chat.

So many to choose from…

6. Get roped into writing an article for The Tab

Or worse, reading one.