Here’s seven things Exeter Uni students can relate to when writing their dissertation

Dissertation time = crying in the library

The time has finally come for fellow final year students: Dissertation tutorials, supervisor meetings, action plans, ethics pack. The supposed pinnacle of our academic achievements: The dissertation. Ranging from 6,000 to 12,000 words depending on your course, it presents a huge test of our academic abilities. Whatever your approach to this monster piece of coursework, I hope you find some joy in the shared struggles of final year students who, I hope, can all relate to the following seven things.

1. Constantly side-eyeing freshers who talk loudly on campus

This goes for all study spaces (especially the library). With campus being incredibly busy in the run up to deadline season, there are LOTS of cooks in one kitchen. But freshers, some advice, please save the enthusiastic gossiping for your flat kitchens. Funnily enough, we the dissertation writers, don’t care that you got with your flatmate at Monday Fever. We also don’t care that you got kicked out of Vaults or haven’t been to a lecture in four months! Keep it to yourself (I am jealous of your first year workload). Now, would I ever tell them to be quiet? No, but I can certainly give them an extremely passive aggressive side-eye in the hopes they receive my telepathic words of warning. Look, it’s not personal I just need somewhere to channel my frustrations, I’m sure you freshers will understand in a few years, keep having fun while you can.

2. You start to see all your course mates in the library (especially on a Sunday)

Continuing the library theme, never, and I really mean never, have I felt such solidarity with my fellow “academics” as I have since starting my diss. And by course mates, yes, I mean the NPC’s, your course crush, the person who always puts their hand up etc. They will all be at the library on a Sunday, either working hard on the top floor or procrastinating on the bottom floor. It’s inescapable yet comforting that the struggle is shared, and it truly helps you feel that you aren’t in this alone. It would be nice to get a window seat without having to be at the library before the crack of dawn, but a girl can only dream.

3. People watching on Forum hill becomes the best part of your day

Pretty early on in your dissertation journey you reach a point where Pret study breaks aren’t enough and fresh air is needed. What better place than Forum Hill to get that much needed break whilst surveying the finest that Exeter has to offer? There’s truly nothing better to take your mind off your work than the feezing wind chills and some people watching. That is unless your past “situationship” walks by and ruins your day. Point is: There’s always something exciting happening on Forum Hill, which I now have a new level of appreciation for.

4. Your TP streak comes to an end

Going out once a week? More like once a month at this point. I am to the point where I’ve found a Spotify TP playlist and have been recreating TP in my kitchen with my housemates and our stolen cups… (a joke, or is it?). It’s a truly humbling experience when all your housemates are going to TP and you have to decline. The mountain of reading just too high, the 1,000 words you need to write tomorrow just too long, forcing you to make the grown up decision to have a quiet night in. Is the tradeoff worth it? I guess we won’t know until results day… but right now, it definitely does not seem worth it. The FOMO you feel is a shared experience, I promise.

5. You make the most of what campus has to offer (sweet treat wise)

Look, we all need fuel and a bit of motivation. And do you know what, sweet treats help to boost morale. However, there are only so many times I can get chocolate from the Marketplace in one day without becoming recognisable by the people who work there. Pret, to name another sweet treat hub, will never get old. It’s the one time in your uni career that you hope there’s a huge queue so that you have more time away from your uni work (and seeing the Pret guy is always a bonus). Currently, in the sweet treat leaderboard, the 50p jelly beans from the Marketplace take the number one spot.

6. Panic meetings with your diss supervisor become the regular

Honestly, I thought there was nothing better than a fast reply from your crush, but a fast reply from your supervisor takes the number one spot. Assigned like a mentor in the Hunger Games, your supervisor is the captian of your dissertation voyage, able to answer the hundreds of questions you have with such ease. If you get a good supervisor, they find time to meet with you rain or shine and guide you through the murky confusion. I really do wonder how they store all that information in their heads, it’s not normal, tell me your secrets. The superstars of Exeter University, truly, thank you.

7. Constantly catching up on overheard to avoid writing your diss

Overheard is the gift that keeps on giving, that’s not new information. From perusing people’s houses when they are looking for new tenants, to the creative ways to beg for a TP ticket, overheard offers a fountain of entertainment and better yet, distraction! It’s a fact that without Overheard I would be further along in my diss, yet it somehow feels productive in a way (but maybe that’s just me). Keep doing what you are doing Overheard, my rock.

I am sure there are hundred more things we can relate to when writing our dissertations, but I need to stop procrastinating writing mine therefore I limit this article to the seven most relatable things. Look, even though the dissertation process is just beginning for most of us final years, it still takes over our lives. I wish everyone the best in their dissertation journey, whatever stage you are at with it, we have got this. Good luck fellow academics, it will be over before you know it.

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