Anyone got any crayons so I can colour in my Ph.D?

So maybe not a Ph.D (that comes next – maybe), but still an MSc.

Yup. Handed it in this morning.

Wish I could feel more excitement, but I’m just too exhausted.

Anyway, that’s me done. Excuse me if I don’t blog for a day or so. I just want to sleep. I might blog, but I also might not. I’m not sure.

First things first though, I can now install OS X Tiger like I promised myself I would when I got done. Yay šŸ™‚

12 thoughts on “Anyone got any crayons so I can colour in my Ph.D?

  1. Congratulatons on finishing it off. I think I know what you mean though, I always feel a little bit lost after finishing a big project I’ve been focussed on.

  2. Previously held congratulations released in full force to you. I think it’s an incredible accomplishment and you should be proud. Way to go! :clap_tb:
    -meowkaat

  3. If you have the resources, I suggest you back up your system before installing 10.4 and do an erase and install. Your system will be crap if you try and do an upgrade.

    Congrats on finishing your program! šŸ˜€

  4. I lacked the resources, so was forced to do just a basic upgrade. I haven’t noticed much difference, but then the poor beast has been starting to show it’s age recently. It really hadn’t signed up for the hammering i’ve been giving it lately, what with the research an all, the poor thing.

    I’m finally down to single-digit GBs in my free space though, so I’m getting myself an external hard-drive in the not-to-distant future, and when I do, I will be doing a full backup, then an erase and install. Thing is, I don’t want to have to go through and reset everything… *whimper*

    Anyway, Merry Christmas to y’all šŸ™‚

  5. Do you mean time-wise or word-wise?
    Time wise it took me a year and three months. It should have taken me a year, but illness and other people being silly added a bit of time.
    Length wise, the final thesis was around 27,000 words – 20,000 of those being chapters, the remaining being appendices etc.

    It was very satisfying to see it all bound. I want to take my copy out and stroke it going “my precioussssssssssss” , but I can’t, because Brother Dearest has kidnapped it. He did it with my undgrad one as well, and I didn’t see it again for a year… šŸ˜•

  6. I’m possibly not the best person to ask considering the debacle the last few months of mine was, but your wish is my command Marjorie šŸ™‚

    I don’t think anyone person can say “follow this advice and you will get a first”, but the following are things I’ve learnt over the years.

    Do not, do NOT, and I repeat a third time, do NOT leave it all till the last minute. Yes, I know everyone is telling you the same thing, but it really IS true. You can’t start early enough on something like this, especially with regards your research. It really does show if you haven’t done the reading to back yourself up – you might end up only referencing a small portion of what you really read, but it is always clear that you’ve done this wider reading.

    Everyone has different methods of research and writing: some write as they go along; others prefer to get all the reading done, let the ideas simmer in their brains for a bit, and then splurge everything on to the page in one go. I’m one of the later, my undergrad supervisor was one of the former, which led to a few ‘discussions’ before we’d cleared things up. Which brings me to my next point:

    Use your supervisor. They want you to succeed as much as you do! Get them to look at drafts, bounce questions off of them, and pester them mercilessly. Be aware though, they have other things to do as well, so it is up to you to chase them, and not the other way round. If you are the kind of person who needs to be chased with a pointy stick before you will do any work (that would be me!), tell them this, and arrange in advance smaller deadlines that you HAVE to meet.

    You should have some idea of what methods work best for you by now (I’m guessing year three of your undergrad?) – one of the best pieces of advise my supervisor this time round gave me was ‘do what makes you feel comfortable’. If you’re not happy, then you’re not going to write a good piece of work.

    Instead of thinking of the dissertation as one huge beast (my undergrad was 10,000 words), it might be easier to think of it as several smaller essays that are all linked. For example, if you have five chapters, that is five essays of just 2000 words. Much easier, and a hell of a lot less daunting!

    Also, and I can’t stress this enough, make notes of what you are reading. You might think it is obvious where that quote came from now, but trust me, when it comes to doing your bibliography it is easy to forget! If you can, invest in a referencing tool such as Endnote (your uni library or research skills person should be able to give you more guidance on this). I kept all my notes on a desktop wiki – everything I’d read by ‘Smith’ went on the Smith-Wiki-Page, Jones on the Jones-Wiki-Page and so on. I could then easily cross-reference things, and search all my notes. You know that feeling “I am sure someone said something about X, but I can’t remember who or where in my pile of post-it notes I jotted it down”, well, with a wiki you just search for “X”, and there it is. (Think of it as your own personal Wikipedia for your dissertation).

    Backup things up – it may sound obvious, but seriously, back things up in at least three places, and print out physical copies regularly. It is embarrassing to admit, but I did manage to delete 5000 words of my MSc from THREE SEPARATE HARD DRIVES. Luckily I’d printed a version out the night before, so was able to recover most of my stuff. If just one person learns from my bitter experience, then it was worth it!

    Don’t under-estimate how stressed you might end up feeling – give yourself one day a week where you are allowed to not work on the thesis and not feel guilty about not working. Your health is more important. If you feel it is getting a bit much, talk to your supervisor, see if you can arrange an extension or something. It is nothing to be ashamed about.

    This also makes you slightly easier to live with from your flatemate’s point of view!

    Plan in advance – get a wall planner or something, mark out when you will have a draft, when a second draft, when a final draft and so on. Be realistic about this, but leave yourself at clear week before it is due in. This gives you a little wiggle room incase something goes wrong. Use the last week to get a friend to read through it for obvious typos and formatting mistakes. Then go through it yourself one last time, print it off, and hand it in. It is not a good idea to be binding it the morning it is due in (though I have many friends who constantly do this). Never underestimate the power of the Universe to completely screw you over when you are least expecting it to!

    Above all though, your dissertation is supposed to be about something that interests you. If you’re not enjoying it, take a break, look at it all afresh, and think how you can make it so you will enjoy it.

    I hope you find one or two things useful in all that Marjorie. If I can be curious, what are you studying? Good luck with it, and let us know how you get along!

    Cas

  7. Hi Cas,

    That’s REALLY helpful. I’m reading Archaeology and desperately want a II:I for my dissertation. I’ve done *some* reading…but not a huge amount. I’ve got some notes, but again, not a huge amount. I’m pretty much starting the major work now and it’s due in before Easter – what are my chances?!

    Again – thanks a lot for the effort you put in to your response. I appreciate it very much.

  8. Oh, it’s my pleasure, I assure you. And you’re a fellow Archaeologist! That’s just wonderful.

    Your chances? Easter is a good couple of months away, so I figure if you settle yourself down to the proper work now, I don’t see any reason why a 2.1 is out of the question.

    The three tips pretty much every Blog Minion who I’ve spoken to about this agree on are as follows:

    1) Plan it out now. Plan your time, and plan your chapters. Things are that much easier to research and write if you know what question you are trying to answer.

    2) Just sit down and write out what you know. You might feel you are nowhere now, and what comes out on the page might stylistically resemble so much poo, but you will probably be surprised with how much you already know.

    3) Have fun with it. All evidence to the contrary, there is life after your dissertation. The world will not stop spinning on its axis if it all goes arse-up. You want to look back on this time with happy thoughts, not hatred.

    And that’s it! Good luck once more šŸ™‚
    Cas

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