Friday, September 8, 2017

7 Ways To Overcome The Stress of Writing a Dissertation

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By Chioma Iwunze Ibiam

The truth is that you cannot successfully graduate from college, or obtain any kind of post-graduate degree without writing a dissertation or an equivalent research work. For those studying for their first degrees, dissertations are usually their first baptism of fire in producing a serious independent research work. But for those studying for their post graduate degrees, like Masters and PhDs, the challenge goes a notch higher.

It is not surprising therefore that writing a dissertation can exert a huge amount of pressure and stress on students resulting in grave consequences for everyone around. The main reason why students find dissertations a formidable task is that as an educational work, it must follow the strict form and style of academic writing.

Research has shown that this pressure on students when going through their degree programs especially writing their thesis causes a lot of stress that sometimes lead some of them developing mental health challenges. Here are some ways to avoid stress when writing your dissertation.

AVOID PRESSURE
Yes, I know that students come with this attitude that PhD’s are supposed to be difficult, but many take this to the extreme and pay a devastating price.
I have discovered that some of this pressure comes when students concentrate their effort and the little time they have in discovering what their mates are doing and what stage they are in.
While it is important to keep abreast of your course mates’ work and other academic happenings, do not make the mistake of fretting and becoming anxious because some students are writing their bibliography, while you are stuck at the introduction stage.
As long as you have your time table, stick to it and go according to your pace. Experience taught me that many of those speedy writers were actually fast but on the wrong lane.

DRAW UP A TIMETABLE
Writing a dissertation is not like writing your autobiography or memoir. You do not have all the time in the world. You are working towards an academic degree within a specified academic calendar. Without a timetable, you may run into serious problems.
In drawing up your timetable, it is important that you follow the format of dissertation approved by your school. Find out what the required structure is, and stick to it. Most dissertations will contain the following:  Title page, Abstract, Acknowledgements, Table of contents, Table of figures, Introduction, Main body/chapters, Conclusion/findings and Bibliography
It's important that you conduct a preliminary research to see if you have enough materials to carry out the dissertation. You can search your school library for these materials. Alternatively, you can visit websites that offer dissertation help to students.

AVOID PROCRASTINATION
The popular saying goes that procrastination is the thief of time. That is so true. There is always the temptation of leaving what you can do today until tomorrow. And before you know it, the D-day is upon you and anxiety will set in.
I would like to promise you one thing in the course of writing your dissertation, and that is that you will hit many snags. There will be a time when your ideas will run out and you will get confused. When this happens, there is no need to get worried about all the unresolved problems.
Always remember that there are two kinds of knowledge. The first s knowing a subject yourself, and the second is knowing where to find the knowledge you don’t know. So when you hit a snag, ask questions.

PREVENT FATIGUE
Research has consistently shown the relationship between fatigue and worry. This is mainly because fatigue reduces the body’s ability to fight and resist illnesses, and also leaves you prone to negative emotions like fear, anxiety, nervousness and worry.
The importance of allowing your body not to be fatigued is to allow it to repair itself. If a body cannot repair itself, it is a matter of time before there is a total breakdown.

REST FREQUENTLY.
Forget coffee and other exhaustion prevention beverages. The best way to prevent fatigue and the attendant physical and emotional breakdown is to avoid working for long periods of time without breaks or rest periods.
Many students fall into the error of thinking that rest is a total waste of time and means doing absolutely nothing. Imbibing the habit of taking short breaks between your work periods will save you from fatigue and worry.

IMPROVE YOUR MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL ATTITUDES.
No matter how smart you are or how physically fit you feel, if you do not develop your mental and emotional attitudes, then you are bound to fail in your work.
If you allow your emotions to be controlled by fear, boredom, hurry, anxiety, worry and apprehension, then you are making yourself a candidate for a nervous breakdown.
There is this erroneous belief among students that hard work is all about effort, effort and more effort. So they abandon and sacrifice every other thing to accomplish the work at hand.
While effort and hard work are not bad in themselves, they become a problem when they are gotten at the expense of other important aspects of life. So while writing your dissertation, always watch yourself. And whenever you feel irritable, bored or anxious, take a rest and do something else.

RELAX
I realize that writing your dissertation is serious business. I also know how overwhelming it can be. Therefore, I understand your desire to turn the key and lock the rest of the world away so that studies are made the priority.
Trust me, if you spend 24 hours doing your dissertation, boredom is certainly going to set in and you will experience the exact opposite of what you want. You will find every other thing more interesting than writing your dissertation.
So do not neglect your personal and social life just because you want to beat the deadline and submit that dissertation. Take care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep and exercise and you’ll be in tip top shape to write that outstanding dissertation.







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