Having just gotten through my first two essays, I can say a Master’s year is pretty intense. As many people – myself often included – face deadlines like big scary monsters that get bigger and scarier as they approach, I gave some thought to the things that can get you through such a busy time unscathed by the monster. Er, deadline.
It’s always the number one rule, isn’t it? It’s also the most difficult to follow. When your essay is due in a month, you feel invincible. Plenty of time ahead to plan and read and write and revise at your leisure. Or is it?
Don’t underestimate the task at hand. And don’t procrastinate so you won’t have to face the challenge just yet. If you start early, you can distribute your work more evenly throughout the time at your disposal. Then what you have left at the end won’t be a giant of a monster, but a pleasantly relaxing proofreading and little last-minute changes.
Take all the help you can get
Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start, or if something goes wrong. There are so many sources of help that you can’t get lost. Here’s a quick but essential list:
- Your course instructor, clearly the best person to ask about any part of your essay or project.
- The PPLS Writing Centre, which offers workshops as well as appointments with experienced tutors, who can tell you if your essay has the impact you want and how you can improve it.
- Other university services, such as studying workshops, one-to-one consultations and proofreading services.
- Your personal tutor, who’s always there for extra support and advice.
Keep your friends close
Remember, your fellow postgrads are going through the same challenging period. Face the monster together. You can organise study groups and writing sessions to motivate each other. Talking about your ideas will help you develop them more. Lastly, studying together is simply fun and takes any dreary element out of the task.
So, when the first deadline appears on the horizon, have no fear. Starting your work early and getting support from academics and friends will make everything easier.