5 Ways To Cope With Dissertation Stress

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Up until now, you have probably found yourself drifting through uni blissfully unaware of the dreaded dissertation. Then, suddenly, the deadline is three months away and the panic mode is set. The time has come to actually take uni seriously. You’ve finally discovered the mystery that is the fourth floor of the library, you’re actually making use of taking books out on loan and your Netflix binges have been replaced with endless writing. But, the chances are, your stress level has reached its peak. Need a bit of guidance to survive the dissertation woes? Nerve is here to offer a helping hand.

Whilst, the end of your degree is so close, it also seems so far. It’s no wonder that motivation is starting to waver. Found yourself overwhelmed by it all? Considered just packing it all in?

Here are 5 ways to deal with the stress of dissertation. 


It sounds obvious, but 10,000 words require a serious amount of brain power. If you aren’t eating enough (or, eating the right stuff) you productivity levels will be less than ideal. Granted, as students, we can’t exactly feast on banquets every day, but we still have to eat a decent amount. Pack a full day’s worth of food ahead of the library (yes, you will need a 3 pm snack even if you think you won’t) and you can eliminate hunger pangs getting in the way. That’s one excuse down anyway. 

2. Do the 9-5

Those who have been on placement year know the drill, and for those that haven’t, now is a good time to learn it. The library all-nighter doesn’t have to be the only way to survive a dissertation. Think of how much can be achieved in a 9-5 day and you can get enough done to actually have an evening to yourself. Admittedly, you won’t always have that luxury, but it’s a start. Give yourself “you” time, have a weekend library free and you might find that you have time to just enjoy. Plus, you can make the most of your last few months in Bournemouth too.

3. Make the most of the examples

A dissertation is all about optimising the work of others, so make sure you do exactly that. You have probably found yourself saying “I have no idea what I’m doing” on more than one occasion. If you are in need of guidance, use the work of your fellow students. Follow their template, read their references and follow use their journey to guide yours. You don’t have to struggle alone. We are all in the struggle together couldn’t be truer than it is with a dissertation.

4. Focus on a single day 

To say the dissertation process is overwhelming would be a massive understatement. Constant deadlines, an over-bearing word count and just general cluelessness can be all too familiar. That being said, the best way to overcome the panic is to break the process down. Set to-do lists for each day, create smaller deadlines and just try to ignore the work that’s looming over you. This will make the huge task seem that little bit more manageable. 

5. Plan the celebration 

If you have reached that point where it feels like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, it’s time to make a post-uni plan. Book a holiday, purchase your ticket for one of the many summer events or apply to some graduate jobs. Having something exciting to look forward to will make the struggle feel all the more worthwhile. The end will come sooner than you realise, so make sure you are ready for it.