Staying balanced during the dissertation period by Ingvild

Ing photoWhile writing your master’s dissertation at King’s (and almost every other university in the U.K.), everyone else is enjoying their summer holiday on vacation or doing other things to enjoy their break from school or work. Therefore, I have discovered some things to help me keep motivated and efficient throughout the dissertation period. Here are my tips:

  • Organize: From the very beginning of your dissertation period after the examination period in May, start to plan your summer. Maybe divide the time before the dissertation deadline into different parts with specific goals for each chunk of time. This will all help you to keep the bigger picture in mind, and help you structure your days. It will also keep you calm, because you are following a track you know will end with you being done.
  • Break: Take a break after the examination period, even if it is just a few days; it will make the transition to writing your dissertation much easier. It will also help your mind prepare to produce your best work yet, all during one summer. And, after the exams, you deserve a break from school!
  • Plan the fun: Plan fun activities all throughout the summer, so you always have something to look forward to. This helps to keep motivated and efficient when you are working.
  • Study together: the library is significantly emptier in the summer months than during the year. As a result, it can feel quite lonely and demotivating to study alone each day. Therefore, I choose to often go with friends to the library, so we can have break together and talk about things that do not involve the dissertation or school at all.

 

-Ing

Ingvild: 5 tips for a more enjoyable exam period

Now that it’s time for exams and papers again, I am returning to the routines I developed in the exam period of the first term of my MA. When completing my BA, we only had one week to study for our exams, and then we had all four exams within a week, often a few on the same day. So, my transition to King’s where we have almost two months of studying, writing and prepping for exams was quite a big one. So much freedom to take advantage of! Here are 5 tips for you who will be going through the same transition to a long exam period as me next year, which hopefully will help you not to stress and worry about them. I have found them to actually be quite enjoyable!

  1. Count things you have completed, not hours. Make lists, be organized, and remember to check things off your lists when completed. This allows you to set day-to-day goals and weekly goals based on the work you get done, and not simply hours spent studying. We all know how our focus and effectiveness can vary throughout a day…
  2. Take care of your body. Yes, you’ve heard it a million times but that’s because it’s so important. Remember to sleep, eat well, and exercise throughout your exam period and you will see results not only in your work, but also mentally.
  3. Go outside. Sitting still at a desk for 12 hours a day is not good for anything, especially not your work. Go outside when you have a break, eat your lunch outside, or go for walks in the morning/evening. It helps, I promise.
  4. Be social. Although it is a stressful time of year, and you feel like you have too much to do and not enough time, remember to hang out with your classmates/friends/family in settings where you do not have to think about school. This will encourage you to work harder when you’re studying, and make you happier!
  5. Take time off. Be strict with yourself and work when you are studying, but remember to be just as strict with the time you allow yourself to have “off”. Maybe you have one day a week where you do not do any work, and just have fun. Or maybe you go out of town for a weekend with some friends. Or maybe you go home and see your family and relax for a bit. Whatever works for you, just remember to allow yourself some time to not worry and stress about school.

…And if you find these tips boring and not useful for you, do not forget that King’s has great study skills, tips, and guides online (I found these very useful for my first exam period at King’s).

Ingvild’s Accommodation Advice

In deciding how to live while studying at King’s College London, there is a lot of information available and a lot of places to look. Here are three things that I wish I knew / wish I knew to think of while looking for my accommodation last year. Hopefully the following will help you with making a decision:

1) Start researching different neighborhoods early so you can see how the prices develop from now on until summertime. It can be useful to get in touch now rather than later if you are trying to find private accommodation. Further, it helps to see the difference between neighborhoods; some can be close in distance, but very different in price! Doing research beforehand will likely save you some money.

Ingvild's photo2) Instead of only looking at the different places in relation to tube stops / bus stops, also look at their distance to parks. After having lived in London for six months now, I have realized how many great parks there are in this city. The parks are beautifully kept, and are a safe escape from the busy streets of London no matter what time of year. I live very close to Regent’s Park, and use it at least 4 times a week for different activities. I love to do my morning run there, I go for walks to clear my head, and when it’s not too cold I love meeting friends there and have a picnic. So, remember this when looking at places!!

3) I would also recommend looking into King’s residences, private accommodations, and flats to rent privately in the beginning. Seeing all the options that are available to you instead of limiting yourself in the early stages are important in order to find the perfect living situation for yourself while doing your postgraduate degree at King’s. London has so many great areas to live in, which makes it hard to choose! Therefore, take the time you need to find your perfect fit.

I hope these tips help! If not, ask any other questions you may have here as a comment, or ask us on the Facebook page.

Q&A with Ingvild, MA Geopolitics, Territory & Security

Ingvild's photoWhich book changed you life?
The Princess Diaries.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Placing 7th at the U23 World Rowing Championships in 2014.

Who would play you in the film of your life?
Am I allowed to dream? Jennifer Lawrence.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My dog, Stella.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Johnny Depp, Emma Stone and Prince William.

What is your favorite word?
Yet.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
An Olympic medalist.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Don’t let the highs get too high, and the lows too low”. – Dave O’Neill

What inspired you to study your field?
Reading about horrific events all over the world in newspapers every day.

What would your best friend say is your best quality?
That I am so similar to her.

Which living person do you most admire, and why?
My mom, because she’s never mad when I call in the middle of the night (which happens a lot when you don’t study close to home, believe me).

Ingvild Roenningen is a Norwegian MA student in the Department of Geography, studying Geopolitics, Territory and Security. She studied her undergraduate degree at the University of California Berkeley in the U.S., majoring in sociology. While studying at Berkeley she was also captain of the Cal Women’s Rowing Team, as well as representing Norway at several World Championships.

For more information about Ingvild’s course, please follow this link