It has been 284 days, four assignments, one dissertation and 32,592 words since I started my Honours degree, and now, finally, it has drawn to a close. There were days when I didn’t think I’d make it this far – days when gouging my eyes out with a plastic spoon seemed like a more pleasant way to spend my time – but I have made it.
And now, as I sit in the proverbial silence of absent deadlines and finished works, I find myself reflecting on the year that was. I have thus made several observations about my Honours experience, which may or may not be helpful for anyone else out that has ever thought about extending their Bachelor’s degree.
OBSERVATION ONE: Facebook is not your friend
Wait, so you mean that spending hours scrolling through updates, forwarding silly emails and watching YouTubers do playthroughs of Outlast isn’t productive? No freakin’ way. But a friend put me on to something amazing; I wish I’d learned about it sooner. It’s called Focal Filter, and it blocks any website you tell it to for a predetermined amount of time. And the beauty of it is: there’s no undoing it. You tell Focal Filter to block Facebook and YouTube for two hours, and then decide twenty minutes later that, nah, you actually do want to check your wall, bad luck, mate! That shit is blocked now.
OBSERVATION TWO: But no, you do actually need a break
Okay, so Honours is important, and if you don’t feel like it is consuming every aspect of your life, you’re probably doing something wrong. But all work and no play makes Homer something something. A year is a long time to do nothing but study – don’t burn yourself out entirely, or you might never relight that flame.
OBSERVATION THREE: Referencing is hard
Chicago Author-date style footnoting AGPS EndNote don’t forget to check your URLs don’t put a comma there too many quotes not enough have you cited this AAAARRRRRGGHHH
OBSERVATION FOUR: Your Past Self is a jerk
I have been working on this dissertation all year, which means that I’ve written a lot of different notes at a lot of different times. Recently, I came across a scribbling that I’d written several months ago that said this: “magic realism, a subgenre coined by Charles de Lint in SOME DATE…” Really? Really, Past Jess? You couldn’t have done this legwork yourself? You had to leave it for me to figure out, months later? You bitch. Oh, and by the way, I just rediscovered the conclusion you wrote for me. Just so you know, “I hate conclusions, man…” is not going to cut it. Get your head out of your arse, Past Jess.
OBSERVATION FIVE: Accept criticisms and compliments
I’ve already told you about my love affair with adverbs, which was pointed out during a workshopping session. Reading out a story is like plating up a piece of your soul and having it devoured by all those around you. Any little flaw that is identified can feel like a personal jibe – but it’s not. It’s so important to roll with the punches and learn from them, because that’s how we improve, no? Also, don’t brush away compliments. Accept that, yes, you did do well at that assignment. Yes, that was a wonderfully written phrase. Yes, you do have the ability to take over the world and rule with an iron fist. Wait, what?
OBSERVATION SIX: Study sessions can and will get out of hand
My two fellow Honours friends and I once spent ten straight hours in the library going over each other’s fictional works. I’m not kidding – TEN HOURS. And it was glorious…
OBSERVATION SEVEN: Your desk looks awful
OBSERVATION EIGHT: You loved this for a reason
Because doing Honours is a personal choice, one could assume that the dissertation’s topic would be something of interest to the writer. Remember that. When things get tough, remember that there was a time, so many months ago, when the thought of knowing more about this “stuff” was exhilarating. It can be so again.
OBSERVATION NINE: Your supervisor is a god
There were five people at my university who were central to this whole ordeal, and chances are, if you do Honours, there will be at least one person who becomes the centre of your universe. For me, my personal supervisor was especially magnificent. He was my mentor and my conscience – so much so that I began to refer to him as Jeremy Cricket (see, because it’s like Jiminy Cricket, but Jeremy, because that’s his name GET IT?). Doing Honours is a team effort, so offer thanks to the people that helped you survive.
OBSERVATION TEN: Blogging is wonderful
So thank you, readers. Yes, blogging can sometimes come under the category of a distraction, and this ol’ website wound up on the Focal Filter’s “NO ACCESS” list a few times. But whenever I needed a break, I would post some random thing on this blog, and then I’d get a comment or a “like” and, believe it or not, that was often all I’d need to get through my day. You guys really are awesome, so thank you.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go eat a cookie and then take an extremely long nap.
- Love The [Freakin' Finished] Bad Guy