Delight in the dreaded dissertation

“You’re still doing that dissertation?!”

We’ve seen the memes about the dreaded dissertation and the final push of motivation needed at the end of the degree, but it’s honestly not all that bad… hear me out! 

The final year dissertation is something that is mentioned throughout your time on the course – many students dread it for the years leading up and put it to the back of their mind, myself included. But, I always felt reminded to give it some consideration, although I still wasn’t sure of my exact topic until the beginning of the final year. 

Throughout the course students are expected to stay up to date with some of the latest policy developments. I found the lecturers to be welcoming and encouraging in prompting us to broaden the literature and prompt you to think critically. 

Thinking retrospectively the course modules provide you with such an overview of how our society functions, but it is ultimately down to you to broaden your own understanding, and within that you are bound to find areas of interest that stick with you. This is how I first came across loneliness as a policy topic; in year 2 I had to complete an assignment related to housing policy which overlapped with the ‘loneliness epidemic’.

From then onwards I had subtly considered researching loneliness for my dissertation topic. But as the pandemic hit and students felt quite ignored and isolated, I knew that loneliness would fit with immense relevance at this time. Initially this idea was further supported after having conversations with peers regarding the difference in home/alone working and online delivery of lectures and how that was affecting people differently. After brief discussion with tutors and my assigned dissertation supervisor it was agreed that I could proceed with my topic early in the fourth year. I must say this support has remained from start to finish, my supervisor has been instrumental in my success whilst simultaneously allowing me freedom to explore and express without hesitation – thanks again Dean! 

I focused the scope on students as I had a unique experience relative to the new situation we found ourselves in and deemed this to be an intriguing avenue to pursue after conversations with peers. I had an overwhelming desire to really use my dissertation as an opportunity to test and push myself further than the course had already required of me until this point – I thought what a better time to investigate loneliness, as it’s worthwhile and relevant (more so than ever before), and most importantly a topic of increasing interest to myself. 

I am grateful for the chance to express myself and my academic progress through my dissertation. Despite the common misconceptions, I have thoroughly enjoyed completing my dissertation. I can’t pretend at times it wasn’t testing and difficult but I can openly admit that if you put the work in and have a genuine interest in the topic then the academic and interpersonal skills developed in the prior 3 years of study will adequately equip you to do the very best you can!

I have enjoyed my time as a student with CLL at Warwick and I feel that signing off with this dissertation is a fitting end!

About the author

This blog was written by Charlie Hodges who is in her final year of the 2+2 degree pathway.

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