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Kara Dunford

February 2nd, 2015

Dissertation Time: Exhilarating Opportunity or Herculean Task?

1 comment

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Kara Dunford

February 2nd, 2015

Dissertation Time: Exhilarating Opportunity or Herculean Task?

1 comment

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

I’ve hinted at my enthusiastic love of theatre before, so it should perhaps come as little surprise that much of my inspiration is rooted in the lyrics of the admittedly sometimes rather obscure musical theatre repertoire coursing through my mind.

Today’s source: The 11 o’clock number from 9 to 5, a musical based on a film of the same name starring Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlinson, and Jane Fonda.

 

Dreams and plans are in the making

Success is out there for the taking

Wish it was as simple as it sounds

 

I’ll take the artistic liberty of transferring these words from their original context to one that fits my own current environment: the submission of my first dissertation plan.

It’s a nerve-wracking process, one filled with questions and self-doubt. Am I making the right choice, the one that will enable me to produce an interesting and unique final product at the end of my LSE academic career?

It’s a decision I’ve sat on since perhaps the beginning of Michaelmas term, tossing around ideas in my head or in conversations with my academic advisor. 

But it was only recently, sparked by a 20-minute long video – and, of course, a department imposed deadline, I finally received the prompting I needed to take the first plunge and set forth a broad topic in writing.

My home department, the department of Media and Communications, produced a video introducing the potential dissertation supervisors. And while it was undoubtedly quite fascinating to hear about the wide array of research interests covered by the department faculty, this is not what struck me about the video.

No, what struck me about the video was something on the surface perhaps far more simple than the details of research areas including media governance, new media, media exclusion – the list goes on. It was a straightforward stream of five words that eased my anxiety and heightened my sense of eagerness surrounding this academic project.

“Do what makes you excited.”

It was a reminder that while, yes, the dissertation is about our ability to synthesise the seemingly countless theories and concepts covered in our lectures and seminars to build an original argument, it is also about pursuing those academic interests and passions that may have brought us here to LSE in the first place.

And maybe, if we view it as an exciting challenge, rather than an insurmountable obstacle standing between us and a degree, it will start to seem a bit less scary. Here’s hoping!

About the author

Kara Dunford

Posted In: Student life

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