Student Journeys

The University, There and Back Again

It has almost been five months since I last opened a word document to write something for DEN, a statement which increasingly draws more dread than relief the more I think about it. Summer had gone by at the speed of light, even though I spent most of it working. So many of the gatherings and conversations I had on those warm nights outweighed the years we spent in isolation and oblivion these past years. But everything has an end, and I was very fond of the idea of returning to London to see my friends. So, for the time being, this is my last year here, and while the future is uncertain, I intend to make the most of it – however, the year three students are faced with the challenges of the dissertation. It is apparent to everyone that the University made it quite clear that work needs to begin now if you wish to finish this academic milestone decisively.

I spent the next few days wondering about my dissertation: how is it going to look? What will be its contents? Should I make tacky remarks or introductions to paragraphs to make them unique and somewhat comedic for those reviewing them? Through these thoughts, I concluded: it does not matter whether or not you “spice” it up with unimportant remarks; the critical point for the work is that it is authentic to yourself. I am not saying that you should reinvent the wheel and write about a topic written about a thousand times or that you should do a large-scale academic project about something no one has ever heard about. The reality is that it needs to be something in the middle, something you have created yourself and drawn your correct conclusions based on what you have learned in the University in these past years. You are not going to write something amazingly new, nor are you copying someone else; your analysis is critical: the “You” in work. After this, my worries ceased; I was keen on writing something which interests me and hopefully intrigues the readers. I am ready to begin my last year in high spirits and motivated to study hard and enjoy my time here. The journey through this year will be long and tricky, but I welcome it, and I am ready to make the most of it for my own experience: the good and the bad.

“Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling, anyway.” — “The Hobbit”

Karlis Starks, Year 3, BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations

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