Getting acquainted with researching and writing a dissertation

Every student finds themselves overwhelmed at some point or another, what with rehearsals, study groups, papers, and trips to the beach. No matter who you are or where you are studying, college is full of things. Most students do not realize that for every hour of credit (or hour of class) you take, you should be given two hours of studying. That means that an average college student with sixteen units or credits per semester should be studying for thirty two hours per week. But for those of you with a part time job that takes up twenty hours, and the need for at least six hours of sleep per week, you might find that there are just not enough hours in the day…or week. So what can you do when you have a paper to write?

Well, first of all, you have to determine your time management style. This is a useful tool. To do it, you need to write down all the things you do for one week and how long it takes you to do them. Write down how long it takes you to:

  • Get ready in the morning
  • Go to class
  • Do your laundry
  • Eat your lunch
  • Study
  • See a movie
  • Attend a club meeting
  • Etc…

Once you start to see how your time is being spent, you can make a more effective schedule. You can start to plan things. Don’t just plan your day, plan your day, your week, your month, your semester. Get a calendar with all of these features and write all of your due dates and test dates for the semester. This will help you to look ahead before you agree to go to the beach all weekend and see when your next paper is due. You can see how many blocks of time you have free between now and the time your paper is due and then make an informed decision whether or not to go to the beach.

When you have a paper due, set a goal for the research, the first draft, and the proofreading phases. Having actual goals written into your calendar the same as the final due date will keep you from procrastinating and saving it all for the last minute. If you have to read a book by a certain date, mark down the final date in your calendar and carry the book with you so that you can read a few pages at time whenever you are waiting for your bus or your friend. All of this will ensure you can get everything done... and done on time!

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