Dissertation put to bed - LLM is officially over
Yes, I can hardly believe it myself - my masters is finally over. As of Sunday evening around 21.00, my dissertation was finally RTM’d (Released to Manufacturing) and submitted the next day. I think the sigh of relief was audible throughout the entire neighbourhood.
On the whole, my LLM has been a fantastic experience and have thoroughly enjoyed (almost) every aspect of it. One thing that did catch me out slightly was the dissertation. While I picked a subject which interested me greatly, I didn’t find the actual writing of it as enjoyable as I thought I would. The research and planning stages were exciting, as were thrashing out some of the finer arguments which would hopefully set my paper above the also-rans but as for the seemingly endless writing and re-writing of a 12,000 word paper, well, it proved a descent into utter tedium.
Being cooped up in my stuffy office during the height of the summer probably had something to do with my frustration but I don’t feel that’s an entirely adequate explanation. Strangely, it wasn’t the length of the paper which bothered me – I had over 8,000 words of excerpts for example – but rather the editing of a paper so much longer than what I was used to. Trying to massage a plethora of paragraphs into a coherent and harmonious whole was much more difficult than with papers of a shorter length.
A jump from 3,000 to 12,000 word limit is significant and I think as students we could have been better prepared for this. For those modules assessed entirely by coursework, for instance, we could have been required to produce a 6,000 word essay for papers 2 or 3, to better break us in.
Also, allotting us 10 weeks was excessive in my opinion and needlessly prolonged what was already a painful experience. For the last 3 and half weeks, my dissertation was as good as finished and I downed tools, fully intending to finish the editing later that week. Sadly, I lacked any incentive or enthusiasm to resume and put the damn paper to bed, meaning I finished editing just a couple of days before the paper was due in. Those 3 and a half weeks proved a horrible time; doubts and uncertainties as to the quality of my paper constantly troubled me and felt suspended in limbo. I did, however, work my way back through series 1-3 of ‘The Office, An American Workplace’ so, you know, every cloud and all that!
The fate of my dissertation is now down to my supervisor and external markers. Trying to give myself every edge possible, I debated the psychological pros and cons of various colours of report folders for my dissertation. Ultimately, I rejected grey, dark green, red and yellow and plumbed for blue as it was the nicest of the bunch in my opinion.
In the meantime, I’m left to reflect on the experience of my LLM, my impending final result and my exciting new legal job which begins at the start of next month.