Signup date: 07 Jun 2008 at 12:40pm
Last login: 25 Feb 2010 at 8:16pm
Post count: 66
I just went into Uni to pick up my second MA essay, and found out I had a really good mark for it, which means that both the essays I've had back so far have been really good, so I was feeling pretty happy. I went to knock on my supervisor's door to have a chat about my dissertation, and she was full of praise and good words, and she told me that the lecturer who marked this second essay for me (who is also head of department and extremely intelligent, someone who I am quite in awe of) was really impressed and wanted to supervise my dissertation (we had discussed earlier in the year whether he should supervise me, but I elected to stay with my current supervisor), and that he wanted me to stay for a PhD, and all of this.
So I went to see him, as my supervisor said he wanted to meet with me... but speaking to him, he really didn't seem to show any inclination of supervising me, and when I told him what my current supervisor had said about him supervising me, he was like 'oh, so she doesn't want to supervise you any more then' and sort of ummed and ahhed and said I'd only have limited access to him because he was going away soon etc etc... which was a major comedown from all the sugar that my current supervisor had just poured in my ear.
Now I'm thinking - does she actually want to get rid of me, and not supervise me? Why would she say all these things which, to me, don't appear to me true? I can't imagine why she'd think I'm a liability, despite the fact that I haven't produced any dissertation work for her yet, because she's been so enthusiastic about my current progress. I just feel really confused and am not sure quite what to make of it - I definitely don't think this second supervisor thinks as much of me as she has made out. It's kind of taken the happiness out of getting a high grade back on my essay...
What do other people think?
Everyone is right, go and see a counsellor - not only will this help you to feel better, because it'll give you some emotional support, but you may be able to get extensions for your essays if you are really struggling with depression, as it seems that you are. I think it's important that you do this while you still have time, especially if it will help you to complete your masters.
I suffer with very similar problems to you, in terms of being isolated and not having any kind of active social life, working 24/7 etc - something that I think inevitably comes with the territory of moving to a new place to go to Uni, and having all your time eaten up by work; I just haven't had *time* to make friends and socialise. I've suffered from depression in the past, and around Christmas I recognised the symptoms in myself - I wasn't willing to sacrifice my masters for it, so I went straight to the counsellor and I've been having regular meetings all year, first individual and then group counselling, the latter of which has been particularly helpful as I've met some really nice people who are going through similar stresses to me. I think I'd be in a much poorer mental state at the moment if I didn't have the support of this group.
I honestly don't know if I'll ever finish this course successfully, and I still have a lot of doubts, but I just take it one day at a time and try not to get overwhelmed by the big picture. I would urge you to make the most of any support which your Uni offers you, that's what they're there for, nobody wants to see you fail. Good luck.
Hi, I'm in the same position as you, worried about whether I'm going to be able to finish my MA dissertation by the end of August - my time management strategies probably aren't that healthy, as they mainly consist of just attempting to work every single hour that I can! I do make time to exercise in the morning before I work, and that relieves a bit of stress, and then I have some time in the evening to do things that I like. I try to get at least 8 hours of solid work done each day, though I'm trying to extend this - today I only managed 6 hours though, but sometimes researching and reading just feels like wading through treacle. I feel I am getting somewhere though, albeit slowly.
To be honest, my new big motivator at the moment is the massive celebratory event I am planning to go to when I finish the course, which is happening on a certain day quite close to my deadline, which means that if I don't get my work done for that day, I basically can't go, which is helping to motivate me a lot! I've built it up into this big reward when I'm going to go all out, new hair, new clothes etc, so I have something to really look forward to and work towards - it's helping me to keep going anyway :)
Thanks for your advice, I had already basically done what you've said, split it into chapters etc - what I'm mostly worried about is whether there is actually any kind of coherent link between each of the chapters, because at the moment it all feels very disjointed. I have done some more work today though, and I'm starting to see a few links I can make at least between my second and third chapters, so this is a little bit of a relief. It's strange, but knowing that this is the last thing I have to do just makes it so much harder to concentrate! I have to keep grounding myself and reminding myself that there's still lots of work to do before the end, but my brain keeps on jumping about going 'woo hoo, almost finished!'
I'm mainly worried about running out of time... at the moment I'm continuing to put in my 8 hours and take my evenings off... but I feel like I should maybe just keep working solidly, even though that will probably drive me crazy. It's hard to plan my time when I'm not sure how long each section is going to take. I've given myself about three weeks per 4500 word chapter at the moment, that's including all research and write up... I really hope that's going to be long enough. It's difficult because my topic is quite obscure and my supervisor doesn't know too much about it, so I'm kind of winging it by myself, which I don't mind because I'm quite an independent worker, but I hope she's not going to tear everything to bits when I finally send her some work to look at. I will be the happiest person ever if I can just get though the next 12 weeks successfully!
I have about 12 weeks left of my masters course, I've finished all my essays and I'm just starting my dissertation, which I haven't really worked on much until now. I've found myself in a place where I'm not really happy with the project I've written for myself, but I have no choice but to try and make it work now. I just feel completely freaked out about how this is the last hurdle I have to get over, but somehow it all feels wrong and I'm just convinced that after all the insanely hard work I've put it, I'm going to fail at the last minute. I just feel totally sleepless and stressed...
I'm hoping this will subside as I do more research and I'll start to get a bit more confidence in what I have to do, but at the moment I don't have the feeling that 'yes, I know what I'm doing' that I did with my other essays, which is frightening when I have so little time left to pull this all together. I don't know if this is normal, I've never written a dissertation before... it feels different somehow from the other essays. Is anyone else writing their dissertation at the moment who has any advice/moral support to share? I feel so down about the whole thing at the moment, like I've just messed up everything for myself...
I'm not doing a PhD, I'm doing a Masters, but I can completely empathise with you because I've been going through the same thing recently. It's totally normal to put off a task because it seems so huge and intimidating, that's a natural response. I went through two weeks of complete apathy shortly after Christmas after I completed my first (very stressful) essay and once I'd got on to that path of surfing the internet and watching TV all day instead of working it was very difficult to get out of it again, especially when I knew how much work there was and felt that I just couldn't face starting the process of writing an essay all over again.
For me, it's about habit - if I can force myself to work hard all day one day, I'm more likely to do it again the next day, because it feels like I have something to live up to, and it makes me feel better about myself. Forcing myself to work is the *only* thing that makes me feel better about myself, and I do it because I know how I will feel if I don't do it. It's worth it to work all day, with gritted teeth if necessary, because at the end of the day I won't have to feel guilty or anxious and I can allow myself some time off which I know I have earned. Surfing the net or watching TV feels so much more enjoyable when I know I've earned it. What you need to do is just break the habit of procrastinating and build up the amount you work each day until it becomes habit. I also make a list of all the fun things I want to do, and then I do one of them each night after I finish working and it gives me something to look forward to.
I also find it helps if you break your task up into smaller ones, and at the end of each day write down exactly what you're going to do the next day, so that when you sit down to work you have ready-made instructions and can just go for it, rather than staring at all the piles of books and paper and wondering where to start.
What it comes down to is, even if you really don't want to work, do it anyway, make yourself do it, and after you've done it you will feel so much better about yourself. It's a bit like exercise for me - while you're doing it, it's horrible and sweaty and exhausting, but afterwards you feel energised and it all seems worth it. Hope that this helps, good luck :)
Wow, it is so good to hear that other people are struggling/have struggled with this besides me! Taramarie - I know exactly what you mean about working for 8 hours and only getting 4 hours worth of work done. I find it so difficult, not only because my attention just wanders constantly which means that I read really slowly, but also I have a tendency always to fall asleep when I'm reading! Because of this I don't really feel like I can take a break, because the amount of times I nod off means so much time wasted - I know this probably isn't a very productive way to work, I've been trying jumping up and down every time I feel like I'm falling asleep - I find it so hard to concentrate though.
My dissertation is due at the end of August too - it's this I'm most stressed about, because I haven't had time to work on it because of the other essays, and trying to make progress in time for each fortnightly meeting with my supervisor is very difficult. My research field is basically English literature/critical theory - all my modules are very theory-based, postmodernism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, feminist theory and so forth. That's okay though, I like theory :)
I guess I am still getting something out of the course, although I wouldn't exactly call it 'enjoyment' lol! Megara, whoever told you the MA would be the hardest year of your life was right, this is definitely the hardest thing I have *ever* done. I feel like if I can only achieve this one thing, I can do anything else in the whole world! I realllly want to pass...
Some days though (like today) I am just soooo sick of it. I know other students aren't putting in as many hours, but are probably getting more done and it's so frustrating. I do feel like I need to do the hours though, my institution is pretty hardcore...
Good luck, Taramarie, with your MA too - maybe we can egg each other on when the going gets tough! :)
Hi all - I have a question for those of you who have completed a Masters - how hard did you have to work to get it, as in how many hours did you have to put in? I'm doing a literature MA and at the moment I am working flat out every day for a minimum of 8 hours, basically putting in full-time work hours, and yet it doesn't seem to be enough - the work is progressing so slowly! I just don't seem to be able to get enough done each day, my deadlines are creeping up and I've barely had chance to look at my dissertation, which is supposed to be drafted up by the end of the third semester, yet I feel if I work any more hours I'll go mad. Is this normal? Any advice or moral support would be welcomed!
I think that depending on which university you apply to, recruitment for masters courses takes place throughout the year. When I applied for my masters course in English Literature I was told it would be pretty competitive and to apply as early as possible. I also wanted to apply for AHRC funding, so I knew I had to have an offer of a place by at least January, as I needed to get my AHRC form to my referees etc by Feb/March, so I applied for my masters in October 07 (for Sept 08 start) and got offered my place in December. This was very early though, and I think that you should be okay if you apply at the beginning of April - the best thing you can do is email the postgraduate admissions team at your chosen university and ask them.
Thanks for the advice - am feeling a little less stressed now, although this may partially be due to getting the flu, complete with blurry head/mild euphoria. I found out that the student who has already completed his first draft actually doesn't celebrate Christmas at all, so I don't feel as bad - I'd have finished my essay too by now if I hadn't had Christmas! I'm meeting my supervisor on Thursday, so still frantically trying to get to the end of my text and produce something for her - hopefully she will be sympathetic, as I shall probably be flu-ridden and limping like Igor by the time I see her, as I also whacked my little toe off the side of the bath this morning and now I can't move it or walk properly - but right now I'm happy in my flu-euphoria so it's okay lol ;)
I think that what I am producing is okay for a first draft - the majority of my free-writing takes place while I'm doing my research, so the actual writing is more a question of organising, rewording, sorting etc, which I'm finding quite difficult since this is a much longer essay than I'm used to. I need to get the whole thing written once though before I can then go back and make sure it all fits together and makes sense - I'm not letting myself be finicky about every little sentence at this stage.
I know Xmas week is hectic, but I feel that this is the pace which I need to be working at in order not to get snowed under. That's why I'm worried - I feel like that there isn't much extra that I can physically give to this, and yet it still doesn't feel like I'm doing enough. One of the other students told me before Christmas that he'd nearly completed the first draft of his 8000 word essay already - to be fair, he's like an uber-student, since he's already completed two degrees and this is his second Masters, but even so, I feel I'm being left behind.
An argument for my dissertation is what my supervisor asked me to produce - she wanted me to read my key text, and then work out the basic argument that I'm going to make. I have read the key text before, but it was ages ago, so I'm reading it again. I'm also trying to structure my chapters and my argument for each one, so that I can focus my research and not be ranging around too broadly. I haven't been told how, or when, to produce a literature review and I haven't done one before, but I have gathered a bunch of chapters from various books which might be useful, though I haven't had time to read them. I've basically been told that I ought to be ready to physically start the official writing by the start of next semester, which is tomorrow. I think that this is impossible, since with all my other MA work I haven't chance to do *any* research for my dissertation yet, and am still not even sure if my research question is going to work!
I just feel like the amount expected of me right now is too much... but maybe I am just too slow :(
Hi all - I started my MA in September and at the moment I'm really struggling with the workload. I've been spending most days working, and I try really hard to work for at least 6-8 hours a day, although obviously over Christmas and New Year this has been difficult with family commitments etc. Over the holidays I had planned to write one 8000 word essay and create a detailed argument for my dissertation - however, the essay has taken an immense amount of time, much more than I expected.
I spent 3 solid weeks researching it, and I've only been able to average about 1000 words a day writing it - so far I am up to 4,500 words of a very first draft which is going to need substantial revision, but I've had to put it to one side to try and create *some* kind of argument for my dissertation to show my supervisor next week, as I haven't yet started this and am worried my supervisor is going to think I'm slacking off, when really I'm working as hard as I can - but I don't seem to be getting the work done fast enough! Is anyone else experiencing this problem? I am worried I am going to get seriously behind on my dissertation at this rate, because all my other essays are going to take so much time.
Well, I got my TLOD today for the RPM competition - woo hoo! :p I got a grade three though, so am relatively chuffed with myself. It wasn't like it was all a wasted effort either, because going through the application process has helped me to really focus on what I want to do for my MA dissertation, so I know I'm going to be better prepared in that respect come September. It was never that important for me to actually get the funding, as I've managed to save up enough money over the two years I had out from my undergrad - I'm glad in a way that the money's probably gone to someone who needs it more than me. Good luck everyone who's still waiting! (up)
What I meant was, it seems that the AHRC is setting one lot of requirements, ie. if you have a 2.1 you should be allowed to apply, but Universities are ignoring that and only going for people with firsts. I know if I had a 2.1 instead of a first, I'd feel that I ought at least to be allowed to apply, if that's what the AHRC rules stipulate.
I'm waiting to hear for my masters course too - I really don't expect to get it, even though I got a 1st for my BA. Does anyone else think it's a bit unfair that technically you should be eligible to apply to the AHRC if you have a 2:1 (according to the AHRC), but my university specified only people with Firsts could apply, I guess cos of the quota? Seems unfair to me...
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