So, I have a confession to make, I am the epitome of the lazy student type, the one that procrastinates writing their essays until the last minute. I get outburst of motivation through the semester but never consistently enough to stop me from writing most of my essay the night before. This is a terrible habit that I haven’t managed to completely change despite four years as a uni student. Because of this, I’ve never had the opportunity to use the writing centre before. That is, until last week.
I have two supervisors that set deadlines for me through the summer to hand them parts of my dissertation. It’s a method that doesn’t work for everyone but I think it is the best I could have hoped for in my case. I already wrote 25% of my dissertation and it’s not even July yet! Thanks to this method, I’ve had the opportunity to use the Writing Centre for the first time ever.
Let me tell you, I had a moment afterwards where I regretted intensely all the procrastination that prevented me from using it before. Nonetheless, I’m so happy to be supported like this in my dissertation writing process.
Reading your writing out loud
I went through the literature review for my dissertation for 50 minutes with a PhD student. The quota for every postgrad student is two sessions a month all year round. I’ve used one session for June and I’ll certainly use each session available until I have to hand in my dissertation. During the meeting, I had to read out loud the different parts of my literature review. It is a method I am familiar with because, to quote Flaubert, it is not until you can scream what you have written at the top of your lungs and it still sounds good to your ears that the writing is done. Well, I am not a 19th-century French writer so I don’t go quite as far, but reading your writing out loud helps a lot. Any weirdly phrased sentence, any typo and you’ll lose your flow.
Gaining a fresh perspective
Along with all the things I was expecting from our meeting, like writing tips and comments on my structure, we spent a lot of time talking about the dissertation process and referencing. I got a lot of good advice that helped clear things up. I could keep writing with a fresh mind, without as much anxiety about what I was actually supposed to do.
To summarise, use the writing centre, even if that involves forcing yourself to kick your procrastination in the butt. Absolutely worth it!