The ultimate guide to surviving deadline season from a Lincoln Master’s student
Blasting Fleetwood Mac truly kept me sane
The dreaded deadline season, the dark cloud that darkens every “Happy New Year” toast as you realise that it is in fact January and you can’t put off your assignments any longer. As the fireworks sparkle, try to ignore the impending doom of realising that you have about a million assignments due, meaning you’ll be spending the first month of the new year hibernating in the library and blowing your loan on vending machine snacks. As someone who has is now going into my fourth deadline season, here are my top tips for making it through the gloomiest month of the year and still having at least some sanity by the end of it.
Not a single person can be productive for 24 hours a day (sorry Molly-Mae…) but you can certainly prioritise your tasks each day by making a timetable. Start your day with the essay you find most difficult and work on that for the longest, or at least whilst you still have at least a twinkling of hope left. Then when you start getting more tired, work on the easier study tasks and those that require a little less brain power. That way you are ticking multiple boxes each day, but working to a timescale that doesn’t cause burn-out.
Now as much as scrolling TikTok can be appealing after every paragraph, it is a procrastination death trap that should be avoided at all cost. Go on a quick walk, do some colouring, make a snack or my personal favourite volume ten your musical hyper-fixation of the month and have a boogie. Taking a proper break is very important, it keeps you refreshed and motivated so make sure you prioritise that in your timetable.
The biggest piece of advice, switch up that study space. If you work from your desk at all times you genuinely might get cabin fever, and it will be even easier to procrastinate and just snuggle up in bed instead. Alternate between the library, coffee shops, Minereva, etc to keep things feeling fresh and having some excitement to your day. You could also drag a couple friends along to join you or start a study group in one of these places. Besides, any essay is easier when you can sip on a festive latte in a cosy café.
Pester your tutors
This takes students a long, long time to realise this but you are paying a lot of money for this course. So don’t feel intimidated to reach out and ask for extra help. If you are met with a snarky email, then so what? Try another tutor on the course. Whether you are asking for extra reading recommendations or for tutors to look over your essay plans, sometimes this extra help can take your grade up to the next bracket. At the end of the day you are a paying customer and should certainly try and get all of the help you can with your work.
On Microsoft Word, there is this gorgeous feature called ‘read-aloud’ which (as it says on the tin) reads the entire document back to you. This is crucial for noticing repetition, grammar mistakes, spelling issues or just overall clunky sentences. When submitting my dissertation I sat back and listened to the entire document in its entirety, and it just adds that much needed confidence boost that you are talented and can truly write something that flows.
Learn from your mistakes
Unsurprisingly, tutors don’t leave essay feedback for fun, it’s for your benefit. Make a note of every piece of feedback you have received and study it closely. Then be mindful when writing your essays that you don’t fall back into the same trap. Even just having these notes on a post-it around your desk can help you avoid repeating errors.
Best of luck to all over deadline season, you’ve got this!