I'm almost ashamed to admit it... but I am really enjoying my dissertation

It's breathtakingly uncool to admit it - but dissertations shouldn't have to be a massive chore. Shouldn't you, gasp, be interested in yours?

I am a woman obsessed. I just can’t stop reading! I haven’t felt this compelled to read since the release of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.

We’re looking at a good 10 years here, and I love reading. I’m researching madly, post-it-ing everything and making diagrams. Diagrams: something else I haven’t done for 10 years. And why? It’s the summer of the dissertation... research. I have made a pact – with my sanity – that the core reading and mindless analysis will be conquered by the time I return to the pitiful establishment in October, upon which day I will thrash around with apparently academic words on a subject of which I have solely a personal interest. You can call me whatever you like but I’m sticking to it.

I can’t remember enjoying a project so much since my self-taught introduction to Evelyn Waugh, some years ago. It is no coincidence that Mr Waugh has raised his head for a second innings. Who’d have thought a research essay could cause such gaiety? It doesn’t feel like work because it’s fun, and that’s what I went to university for. I feel like an adulteress if I look at my half-read copy of ‘The Group’ (also on my reading list) or divert my eyes to a tube neighbour’s Standard away from my commute companion.

Unless you’re of the mad persuasion (i.e., me) you’ve probably spent your humanities degree thus far ignoring your future thesis’ very existence. Obviously I’m the weirdo that turned up to the pointless ‘Advanced Research Skills’ class last term with a plethora of notes and an over-achieving attitude that should be kept in Pandora’s Box. The compulsory 10,000 words – although I’m hardly being water-boarded – are relayed as educational legend, a concept terrifying at school when one imagined a mere 1,000 to be a rhetorical marathon. Scoff scoff. The dissertation is a beast that can’t be tamed so they say, one that people avoid feeding until the shark’s cage is bashing a chair in the library. And according to my tutors, it’s not supposed to be fun. But mine is! It’s my baby.

But it’s more than just being on time with deadline. I have embraced geekiness. And no, not those Topshop t-shirts. I’m talking about really enjoying books – whatever floats your boat. And what’s keeping mine upright is a certain niche of early-twentieth century wit. I keep saying how sick-making things are – after Waugh’s Agatha Runcible – calling everyone darling and how ‘awfully’ this and that everything is. It’s more than an essay; it’s a way of life.

On a recent Radio 4 show, a newspaper columnist debated whether men’s being funny is sexy. It was concluded that it is not funniness that maketh the man, but inherited intelligence. The methodology in which one becomes funny derives from a prescribed literary analogy or effortless manipulation of language. It’s not the joke, it’s the delivery. And with that, I am embracing clever, hunkering down in a bomb shelter away from the outer world in which shells of ignorance deign to attempt to penetrate my finally focused and centred literary mind. Because as Nancy Mitford says, there are currants in the cake, and this is one of them.

Eleanor Doughty is a second-year student at Queen Mary, University of London. Follow her on Twitter here. She probably won't follow you back.

Life and Style
A nearly completed RoboThespian robot inside the Engineered Arts workshop is tested in Penryn, England. The Cornish company, operating from an industrial unit near Falmouth, is the world's only maker of commercially available life sized humanoid robots
techSuper-intelligent robots could decide destroying the human race is the kindest thing to do
News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Client Services Analyst (SQL, Financial Services, Graduate,VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Client Services Analyst (SQL, Financial Se...

First Class Graduate (Computer Science, Economics, Finance)

£23000 per annum: Harrington Starr: First Class Graduate (Computer Science, Ec...

Service Desk Analyst- Desktop Support, Helpdesk, ITIL

£20000 - £27000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition