I recently finished the bulk of my dissertation and while it would be true to say a great sigh of relief was heaved as realisation set in that it was over, it would also be true to say that more has happened here than a document being completed.
The dissertation has loomed large as third year approached, and I do mean large. The essays up to now have been 1500, 2000, 3000 words and they have seemed long enough, so 8000 words seemed like a mountain. While it has been quite a climb and the going has been pretty rocky at times, the journey has been amazing and I've learnt something about myself which was surprising. I absolutely loved it.
Maybe (hopefully) my mark will be decent but honestly even if it is terrible (gulp) I'll be grateful because the process has opened my eyes to research and how to start looking at it in a new way. I'll admit to previously including references in my work without taking some responsibility for ensuring what I was quoting was, to my limited and novice eye, credible and useful. Learning how to critically analyse has been... wait for it... pretty cool. And now I honestly can't get enough of it. I read as much as I can and everything I read brings up more questions and I wonder what it would be like to carry out research of my own, to contribute in some way.
So right now I feel like I am on the verge of something, like I might even know where I am going. Like the dissertation I am prepared for this to be a process but the relief now is in knowing that this is just the start.