Dissertations as a science student

The majority of your time at Uni during Third Year is dedicated towards your dissertation. Its taking up every ounce of my free time at the moment, leaving me struggling to balance work, school and being social.

I’ve hit the critical part of semester 1 as well, i have two deadlines on Monday and exams both pre and post Christmas. Despite work quietening down over winter, the inevitable Pantomime approaches.

As a science student, my dissertation format is dramatically different from that of a normal student. The average dissertation is between 8-12 thousand words. My thesis is a mere 4 thousand. However it is only 60% of my overall dissertation grade. 10% falls into a design study; explaining what my experiment is and submitting a design proposal to show i know what i am about to do. 15% is my lab notebook, a detailed description of all of the work i have done during my lab time and what i have observed and learnt. The final percentage counts for an interview, a mock job offer that shows we have the ability to talk and present our work to people who are not necessarily our peers; a good idea for the whole “employability” focus universities have in getting their graduates into work, but not for my stress levels.

There will also be the inevitable presentation to my Laboratory Supervisors and the pitching to journals to publish my work. More stress on my plate.

I love that my dissertation is so small, as a practical project it would be nearly impossible to make the numbers up in a 10 thousand word essay. It also takes into account my practical skills and time commitment (that is really hard to squeeze into a full four day uni week, plus commuting and work), meaning i am not just assessed on my writing skills, which are poor, especially for science writing.

Disserations are scarily time consuming and stressful, but if you can keep on top of the work (Abigail, i hope you are listening) you can easily make the top grade and get great recommendations for your work. So on that note, i probably aught to get back to the introduction i have been trying to write for the last few days, and those pieces of coursework due in on Monday.

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