Dyslexia and Me: Dissertation Blues (One Giant Leap)

Notes, post-its and classical music

Notes, post-its and classical music

This week as I have so much university work I am in a bit of a state. I love learning about history and archaeology but the studying process is a bit of a challenge and a half! Reading takes me a lot longer than everyone else, but I always try to contribute or ask questions that other people seem to miss. However, it is writing that is the area I seriously struggle with!

Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Breakdown

So right now I am taking my 15 minute break from 45 minutes of studying. I’m writing this blog in parts rather than in one swift move. I have a 10,000-12,000 word dissertation to write and a 2,000 essay due in the next couple of weeks. I started preparing months ago doing the reading part, but I just haven’t got my head into writing with any real structure until now. I have been having panic attacks at night, in the supermarket, on the way into town. I have contemplated throwing the towel in, throwing my laptop out the window, throwing up. I become very anxious, angry, irritable, snappy and generally intolerable when I have any written work to do. Right now I want to curl up and sleep or cry or lash out.

I know everyone struggles with dissertations. I am told this by all my non-dyslexic friends who don’t seem to grasp just how frustrating it is when you know what you’re wanting to discuss and explore in your work, but you cannot express these ideas either in a written form or an cohesive verbal way. I found myself having to control myself as someone said to me ‘I don’t understand why people get so worried by a dissertation, it’s just a big essay!’ Well, when you are trying to aim to continue into a postgraduate degree, it is a big deal! And when you have something that makes that struggle even harder, it becomes an uphill struggle that you never think you’ll complete.

Learning The Value of Opinion (Thinking Outside the Box)

I love to learn. I love exploring new ideas. I love studying Early Medieval history because there is so little known and so much open to interpretation. I can read bits of contemporary literature which is often vague and look at archaeology and try to work out what may or may not have been happening at the time. Because it isn’t clear cut, it means I have the ability to think outside of the box, which I cannot do with modern history. There is so much written on the World Wars, so much evidence from people still living now, so much recorded evidence, that if you try to raise a different opinion that is outside of the mainstream thinking, you are seen as being ‘wrong’. I find it hard to grasp how an opinion can be ‘wrong’.

I used to thrive when learning poetry at school because it was based on opinion and interpretation. As soon as I was free to spread my wings and explore these ideas, the easier English became for me. I could see the hidden messages and I knew how to write them into poetry of my own. As soon as I was boxed in with the rules, grammar, spelling etc I felt like a caged bird trying to get out. I couldn’t cope with the environment behind restrictive bars and would begin to pace around like a wild animal within my mind but also in a more literal level, pacing up and down hallways in our flat to the bathroom, the kitchen to get away from the homework I had to hand in. I would literally having screaming matches through the frustration.

How can an interpretation be ruled as wrong? Should it not be discussed and debated first?

Free thinkers are dangerous.

Arc’ Tan’ Gent

As you may have noticed from previous blogs, I tend to go off on rather weird tangents. My train of thought doesn’t stick to the main route. I often have to work out way down the line where it was my original destination was. Too many thoughts too quickly. It all makes sense to me, but to others it perhaps seems a little bit all over the place. I often repeat myself too. It all makes sense to me, but to others it perhaps seems a little bit all over the place. I often repeat myself too.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah! Dissertation.

One Giant Leap

So I better get back to working. I really struggle when I am constantly interrupted, but I need the breaks so my brain doesn’t go to mush. Though perhaps from this post you can tell it probably already has…

From dropping out of school and college, I never thought I’d be having to write a 10,000-12,000 word dissertation! My poor brain is really fried now. I feel exhausted from the whole effort. I am questioning everything apart from the question on the paper. Time to get back to working and hope that I can get over this hurdle in one giant leap!

I will no doubt look back on this in a few months time and realise just how much of an achievement it was. Until then, I think I’m going to be a little bit ‘woe be me’ haha!

Posted on April 13, 2014, in Blogging and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Teaching-Annie

    Just reading your posts shows me see how our society has placed so much emphasis on the written word, mainly in the academic world.

    Many students at the University where I work, especially as the semester winds down, are fighting the stress of finals. Maybe it would help if you typed your thoughts in an outline form (in Microsoft Word) where you can adjust the order, moving them up or down. I have worked with Annie using that method.


    • Yeah that’s how I do things. I have been given a lot of very helpful advice from people regarding my dissertation and how to write with breaks etc, but I do all of these things already and still finding it an uphill struggle.


      • Teaching-Annie

        I understand the struggle because I am teaching Annie. This morning I received 28 emails at work, because she had to write a paragraph! Whew, that paragraph is done. Hoorah!


  1. Pingback: Newsletter 14th April | Spectrum Bloggers Network

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