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Podcast listening and more

Since I finished my dissertation my biggest time sink has been listening to podcasts. For some reason, I download the entire series of podcasts and work through them one at a time until there are no more. It’s a way of relaxing. It’s also a way of getting information quite easily.

In London, I hardly ever leave home without the iPod whilst in Switzerland due to my driving I can’t listen to podcasts when traveling by car. When it’s on foot however I can.

I found a loop that I do that’s about an hour’s walk and if I chose to I can make that loop last a shorter or longer amount of time depending on which paths through the fields I’ve chosen. Over the past few walks, the rain started falling onto me but it was warm enough and the rain so weak so as not to inconvenience me.

During this podcast listening, I’ve learned a lot about technology and the opinions of a team of people. I’ve seen the evolution in attitude between various podcasters. We see the evolution from being fairly new at certain podcast programs to being quite weathered in by the entire process. As a result, the content is more relaxed and feels more familiar. It’s more familiar to me as well. I know these individuals now, as they’ve talked over time. It’s not quite as remote anymore.

As I listen to podcasts I’ve started to think that they’re not that innovative. They’re doing what radio did years ago but rather than concentrate on music and other such topics they concentrate on technology and those behind the scenes. In so doing there’s been a shift from a celebrity culture of films and music to one of the bloggers, web developers, and more. We’re in a time when being online is so easy and so normal that everyone is there. Within the past 8 months, Facebook has gone from having two or three of my friends there to over 200. That’s quite a big shift, quite a change.

The online world is no longer the realm of the geek. In fact, it would seem that being online is no longer a geeky pastime.

I was also thinking about how social networking websites have become the new portals. Remember yahoo, Altavista and others attempting to become portals, the starting point for most people’s web experiences. Now Facebook, at least within my real-life circle of friends, seems to be the most important. Everyone seems to be there now, or almost. How long will Facebook remain popular?

My Dissertation Is Finished, Handed In.

My dissertation had been finished and ready to print since yesterday afternoon but it’s today that i finally printed out the entire document for handing in to the university for assesment. it’s 10,800 words for some of the most highly produced work I have ever done. It feels good to have handed it in and never to have to worry about it.

Many of the others have handed in the work and it’s going to be celebrated tomorrow although the prospect of spending my first real day of freedom hung over does not appeal to me therefore I’m planning on not drinking.

Now what to do with all this time I’ve got. Find a place to live, find a place to work and more. Everything is there, absolute freedom to do anything at any time i want now.

A Writer Can Expect To Revise His Work Over A Hundred Times

Those words were magic, a writer can expect to review his work over a hundred times. That so many times. Can you imagine going through something one hundred times? By the end, you’re going to go mad.

Actually, when I’m working on video it’s not unusual for me to watch the same five minutes 20-30 times till I’m satisfied it’s perfect.

I’ve been applying that procedure to my dissertation which is why I still haven’t completed it. I was feeling discouraged this morning but this afternoon when I heard the sentence I’m now using as a title for this I felt encouraged.

Of course, it’s hard, of course, it’s repetitive but if you want to write well you’ve got to give it the time it requires. What’s the point in having a dissertation to write if you’re going to do it within two days. What about all the thought process. What about all the conversations you’re missing out on.

I joked with someone who was still taking notes today, “45 credits…. ah that’s worth at least 45 minutes of work”. She probably hates me for saying that but come on, it’s your dissertation. It’s the first time that people want you to blab for so long about a topic of your choosing. No one else tells you what to write, only how you should write it.

Some friends are smart, they chose the subjects they love. So did I, means you’re studying even when you’re not.

Add to this the process of writing. It’s enjoyable. Put some music on, zone out for an hour or two and just write, research, and learn more about what you love, then write more. Write to learn rather than the other way around. I love the thought of writing to learn. It’s a book I read several years ago, when still at La Chat in Geneva.

I think I’d like to be a writer. I don’t mind academic writing as long as I have as much time as I want, or else organise my time so that I fool myself into believing I have as much time as I want.

There’s one paragraph that’s taunting me at the moment, I’m going to trick it though, and it will be tamed into a relevant bit of text.

On the Re-Write

I’ve been talking to a lot of people and there is hardly anyone that seems to take the re-write seriously. Most people see the writing phase as the end of the work. There’s a secret I’ve been hiding for some time now.

Re-writing gave me a twenty percent boost in grades. That’s the difference between merit and distinction. That’s the difference between a 2:1 and a distinction for the dissertation. Now take into consideration that the dissertation is worth 45 credits out of 120 for the year. That’s a large enough portion that if you create a good piece of work your grade will increase and your degree may be worth more.

I’ve been talking to people, taking an interest in their work practices and this is what I’ve found. Most people are around the 5-6 thousand word mark whilst four or five are completed. One person is up 23,000 and must cut down on what’s written. Most of these people aim to write from 1-3 thousand words a day and rarely go to see their supervisor. As a result, they’re relying on luck more than other factors.

Luck’s great but when you’re at home and your parents ask, “so how did you do?” the answer won’t be “stop asking me”. Instead, it’ll be. You’ve seen my work, you’ve seen the time and effort I’ve put into it, now let’s just wait and see whether it’s paid off or not.

Of course, pleasing your parents is always rewarding but there’s another motivation. The better the dissertation the more useful it may turn out for when you’re looking for work. Twice I’ve found work thanks to my website… don’t do much for that.

Last year I listened to a journalist and he told the students taking one course to focus their dissertation on a topic that would help them gain employment by demonstrating their in-depth knowledge of a topic, for example on conflict within one region.

It’s 0130am and I pushed myself today. I didn’t feel like writing, I forced myself. I wasted quite a bit of time but whilst I review my results section I can write the key points and write my conclusion according to that section.

Remember, people don’t want to keep flitting back and forth to understand what you mean.


Last Three Steps Before Handing In My Dissertation

Being at the stage I’m at, and having discussed the work with the tutor there are three things I must make sure to do before handing in the work.

The first task is uniformity. I need to go through two or three sections and make sure that I tie them into the overall structure of the dissertation work. It’s meant to flow from one section to another. That’s something I’ve got to work on.

The second thing I’ve got to work on one or two paragraphs, make sure that the information that I wrote down is comprehensive and there’s no so what question left in the air.

The final task is to make sure that I have a clear dissertation title and write the dissertation conclusion according to this. Once that’s done I’m pretty much done with this most major of assignments and it’s been a great learning curve. I think it’s been the best learning experience overall that I’ve had in University.

I’m Almost Done With Uni

I’m almost done with uni but it’s so hard. I’ve been working on and off on three projects now for at least three weeks and I’ve spent so much time on these projects that today I finally met my saturation point so I left the computer behind and dropped down to the bar for a drink or two and for company.

There were only a few people watching a football match and no media students from my year. They don’t have the luxury I have, of being able to leave everything for an hour or two before coming back to it and I do.

I took one of the booths and sat there thinking of nothing and doing nothing. It was nice to do nothing but rest, the only sound was football and then some music.

When I went outside a very amusing conversation was to be listened to and I laughed, feeling the pressure decline at last and being more sedate once more. It’s so great to think that in a week I’m done, that I have complete freedom. I can’t wait and I could get it within three or four days if I work really hard.

I’m no longer worried about the calendar, no longer worried about the deadline, no longer unable to say dissertation without feeling a sudden excess of stress. Instead, I’m calm, relaxed and it’s really nice.

I just can’t get to writing anymore. I’m going to have to re-write my conclusion taking the main points from my analysis and making sure that it’s clear and concise, a paragraph per point, and a summary for the conclusion. That’s the results and conclusion that I’m talking about.

Long live the end, the end of my academic workload, and the beginning of adulthood once more. Three years in the making.

A Week and Two Days Left

There are about nine days left before the deadline and I’m up to revision five of my dissertation and I’m feeling fairly happy about it. i’ve spent two days working off the printed copy before transferring these changes back to the electronic version. I’ve got almost everything I wanted to do done for today. The next step is to get all the graphics, tables and the bibliography in order. In this detail alone I may expect to spend two or three hours if things go well.

I’m happy to have got this far as I can still change anything that i feel really needs changing.  Tomorrow I may attempt a smooth read, making sure that everything is  as it should be.

Saw The Film Shooter And Really Enjoyed it

Last night I was feeling good about how my dissertation was going so I got my shoes on and walked to the cinema, feeling good about what I had achieved in the day. I went from my dissertation being a collection of words on the computer to it being printed out for visual inspection.

What I found as I looked through the thousands of words I have written is that I am quite happy with the way it’s going and thought that I’m going to meet the target date for the handing in earl, if everything goes well from here on.

When I went to see Shooter I really enjoyed the film. I often find that I prefer war films to other genres because although the story format is always the same the way the story is more engaging than many of the other styles of films. It’s great fun to watch explosions, to watch works of great precision.

I also approve of the choice of women selected for the film. It’s a nice distraction from what I’ve spent most of my time looking at recently. i.e. words on a screen.

I’d recommend people to see it.


Dissertations Are Demanding

Spending almost all of the time when you’re awake to complete your dissertation is hard, especially when you slept no more than six hours after a good night out.

I’ve spent almost all the time I’ve been awake working on my dissertation and it’s progressing well but there is still work to be done and although sometimes I feel good at other moments I feel like it’s never going to be completed. That’s a good sign.

By this I mean that I’m going through all this pain and stress, wanting for it to be finished but as it’s written it’s a matter or re-organizing and elaborating on certain points rather than typing the whole document.

I’ve got the time and resources to add graphics, tables, write the bibliography, and more by the deadline. I’ve still got more than a week but I’m pushing myself to get as much done now rather than later.

When discussing the dissertation with a number of people they seemed to find the topic interesting therefore I hope that when it is finished and people get an opportunity to read if they enjoy the process. Long live the handing in of the dissertation when I shall burst into laughter from the relief I will feel.

Finalising the dissertation

At the moment I’m re-reading the dissertation and going through every paragraph individually to make sure that the content is good. It’s currently floating at about 9900 words and I’m feeling fairly confident with the content. there is still work to be done but within the next three or four days I hope to be done with this piece of work.

Once more I went walking around the library and I met almost only girls from my course quite amusingly. They’re at various levels of stress as you’d guess. Some are quite confident, feeling that they’re well on their way whilst others prefer not to talk about the subject.

through the status messages that one guy put on Facebook I thought that he had progressed really well but a message today led me to the opposite conclusion. It would be inferred from what he has written that he has not done as much work as I had thought initially.

In other news, I tried working on the work experience module but I found that I simply ended up angry so I gave it up as a bad job. It’s curious how that happened. I’ll work on it in a day or two when I’m feeling more open to it.