Dissertation Doldrums

Dissertation Doldrums In the past week or so I’ve been somewhat troubled over my apparent lack of motivation to press ahead and crack out this dissertation. Although this could be attributed to pure laziness or post-exam buzz coupled with that summer-of-fun mentality that so often hits students, on reflection, I think my ill-timed inertia might be understandable.

Besides the hot weather we’re experiencing at the moment – exacerbated by my monster PC pumping out serious heat in my office – I think the postgraduate schedule conflicts with the natural yearly rhythm that’s ingrained in all law students.

The final stage of the orthodox academic cycle can be expressed thus:

Hot weather + sunny days = summer

End of exams = summer = (fun + no academic work)

Obviously having the dissertation spread out before me for the rest of the summer – we’re supposedly to spend 10 weeks wrestling with the beast – throws something of a spanner in the works. For every academic year that I can remember, the end of exams always signalled freedom from the shackles of academia – a chunk of downtime in which we could do exactly as our little hearts desired. Facing up to the reality that things are different this year has not be easy.

Fortunately, I’ve already arrived at the conclusion that procrastinating over this final hurdle of the LL.M won’t do me any favours. I’ve already done a chunk of research for it yesterday – adding considerably to my ‘depository’ of resources as well as hitting some proverbial dead ends – and have my first allotted meeting with my dissertation supervisor tomorrow.

Hopefully, that meeting will provide some help in tracking down a couple of killer sources which the university and their myriad of subscriptions seem to have circumvented entirely.  Actually, to be clear, it’s not the tracking down which is proving the problem - it’s the cost of them.  I’ve heard my uni are quite generous when it comes to subsidising sources for postgrad dissertations so fingers crossed I won’t be dipping into my personal funds over this.


  1. Michael,

    "Summer = fun + no academic work" - this is just so true. Its one of the nicest British summers in a long time and we can't enjoy it...

    For me, this was going to be my last long summer before entering the world of work. One that I was going to damn well enjoy. But now I'm stuck trying to study for more exams :(

  2. Also goodluck with your dissertation!

  3. Thanks AW. Good luck with your exams later this summer. It must be torture :-(

    Still, the end is in sight, eh? :-)

  4. urgh. sounds nasty Michael. But keep at it and give them loads of reasons to pay for those resources. Here is Ireland its raining :( so you'd have no problem working here.
    Best of luck. You've probably mentioned this before, but what are you doing when it is all over?

  5. Try to achieve that balance Michael...take your work to the park and read through your research there! Two birds; one stone...

    Seriously? Good luck!

  6. Travis: Thanks! Re. what I'll be doing afterwards, well, hopefully in some kind of (reasonably well-paid) job. Probably non-legally related but we'll have to see. I going to probably try a couple of graduate recruitment schemes as applied to one back in 2007 as proceeded to final round... but then decided to do a postgrad.

    CBC: I've never been a huge fan of working outside with papers and the like. I did some revision during the final stages in the garden but I think I'm much more productive inside - even if I have to take regular breaks to enjoy the sunshine.

  7. My Dear Michael,

    The Thesis Monster and I would like to pass on our sincere sympathies.
    ( Well I would, anyway; Mr Harold Fortesque Crankypants Esq-as TM is latently wont to label himself having grown in sufficient SIZE and, indeed BULK - as to acquire a PERONALITY- is presently too busy splashing about in his paddling pool to formally pass on this sentiment)

    Seriously, its may be a long frustrating and tiring haul but wirting a dissertation is a true test of your academic mettle ramping up, as it does, your organisational and research skills to DefCon 27.

    Inconvenient, painful and horrible? YES.

    Absolutely WORTH it? HELL YES.

    ( Top Tip: Try working very early in the morning if you can manage it, or later at night when its cooler and quieter and there is less distraction in general; works for me!)

  8. You better do well in your dissertation, because I'm watching you, Michael! :p

    I'm sure that once you get in the writing mood, it will get easier and you'll find the necessary inspiration and motivation.

    Are you still doing the same topic?

  9. Wow, well that's got me quaking my boots, Andro! :p

    Yeah, it's still on the same topic.


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