Course, Coursework

Dissertation.

I feel bad for not writing anything here for such a long time, but dissertation preparation took all my time.

It’s all fun and games until you get to the 3rd year; that’s when the hard work really starts. I had the entire summer to come up with an idea for my dissertation, to re-think it, change it, and re-think again. Consider other alternatives… and go back to the original idea. But I didn’t do that. But honestly, who did? Looking back now I wish I thought about it back then.

It took me ages to come up with my final idea. Idea, that was completely different from what I wanted to do when I submitted my proposal. The general concept stayed the same (ish…) but the method got refined. I went from purely qualitative study to a quantitative one. This only means one thing… STATISTICS! And SPSS software, that we, psychology students, just l-o-v-e! (not.)

Getting my ethics form written up also took a while. Mostly due to me being very undecided about what I wanted to do. Having to do a brief literature review didn’t encourage me to keep working on it either… But a good thing about it is that I actually have some framework to refer to when I finally start writing the real thing. Surprisingly though, my study got approved a day after I submitted the form!

Next step was to actually create my survey online. Seems pretty straight forward, right? Well, I thought so too. It took me one evening to create it, but I kept going back to it for a few days after to change bits and pieces. Last night, it finally went live, and as of today I have already collected data from 21 participants! Impressive, or what? So, my data is collecting itself, and all I have to do now is start the write up (with other coursework bits on the side…).

So, future 3rd years! Don’t follow my example and really do try to figure out what it is you want to do for your dissertation early enough, it will save you a lot of nerves! Trust me, the current 3rd year who’s a little too stressed out about the whole thing.

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Uni services

Library tips.

Well, thanks to being in third year, and writing/editing articles all the time, I’ve been spending an awful lot of time in the library.

Here are my library tips.
1. Be quiet. It’s a library, not a nightclub. If you want to talk to your friends super loudly then The Union is pretty much next door.
2. Use the right study area. Group study for stress-free chatting and if you want to eat your lunch, quiet areas if you want to work in peace.
3. Be considerate. Not everyone wants to hear your phonecall about last night’s escapades.
4. Don’t be rude to the staff. I saw someone swear at a librarian the other day because the book she’d just taken out had been reserved already and there’s really no need.
5. Make the most of it. The library’s there for a reason!
6. Don’t eat where you’re not supposed to. You’re at least 18 years old now and following rules isn’t that hard! Stop chewing your gum so loudly as well.
7. If you’re wearing headphones, don’t turn the music up to full blast, thereby defeatign the point of headphones altogether.
8. Don’t be afraid to use the self service machines. The news ones are actually really easy to use.
9. Take a break now and again. Or you could end up like me, finding everything and everyone annoying.

The university library is a brilliant resource that we’re all really lucky to have so make sure you get down there one day and actually use it!

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Course, Free time, Nightlife, Study, Travels

Obama and Brazil – Progressing Through the Second Year

I am pleased that Mr Obama was successfully re-elected as the President of the United States of America for a second (and final) term. My prediction was correct, and I look forward to his future policies and actions as the President.

For those interested in the Americas more generally, you can catch Michael Palin’s journey through Brazil on BBC1, Wednesday evenings at 9pm.  And of course, watching Channel 4 repeats of Friends, Frasier and The Big Bang Theory counts as studying American culture, right?

I thought I’d mention that my Second Year is progressing well, yet I am reminded that Christmas is fast approaching. I have one big essay in before the festive break – I’d really better get started on that! As the weeks go by, I find myself thinking ahead 12 months and contemplating my Final Year. I know I shouldn’t – there’s still so much to be done right now – but it seems strange that I am no longer a Fresher.

The realisation that all my work could now decide the fate of my final grade is starting to sink in!

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Course, Study

A Topical Subject

What I really like about American Studies is that the subject is always changing, so there is always more to learn. No doubt you, dear reader, will be aware of Hurricane Sandy which has just wrecked its way through the Caribbean and along the eastern seaboard of the United States of America. It’s apparently the second most damaging hurricane ever, after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Perhaps more intriguing will be the results of the upcoming Presidential Election in the US. The Democratic President, Barak Obama, is running against the Governor of Massachusetts, Republican candidate Mitt Romney. It all happens on Tuesday 6th November – so not long to wait! What policies would Obama pursue if he secures a second term in office? How would the election of Romney affect America’s foreign policy?

Of course it’s not all about the US – the recent elections in Venezuela saw the re-election of socialist President Hugo Chavez. How does this affect Venezuela’s relationship with other American countries?

As an American Studies student, I am encouraged to keep looking for deeper political implications which can be drawn from an election, and seeking the historical context within the situation.

(Between you and me, I’ll be betting my dollars on Obama to win).

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