Upon completing this thesis, there is a sense of pride at how far I have come. At the beginning, I struggled to define just what I wanted this dissertation would focus on. An initial sense of excitement was felt upon the news that there were almost no boundaries to what could be chosen, followed by an unanticipated issue – having too many ideas. I feared committing to one idea and then halfway through, having regrets about another but it being too late to convert. I am glad to say that I have not felt this, and am still content with what I chose to explore. My chosen topic is important to me. Like many others, I believe in gender equality and that women and girls should be interested and active within politics in order to be accurately represented. If it is not being given to us, we must demand it.
I knew I wanted to look at ‘the role of women’, and, obsessed with the film ‘American Psycho’, explored that first. I was happy with my dissertation proposal at Easter, written on the portrayal and role of women in ‘American Psycho’, but after discussion with my tutor, it was not the right choice. At the time, there was buzz around the General Election, and so I began looking at how media coverage can influence voters. Over the Summer, I tried to read as much as possible however, when writing began in September I realised I had not read widely enough, and had been reading the wrong kinds of texts. As I have analysed newspaper articles, there are some included in this thesis, however there were not enough academic texts to contextualise and provide theories for my argument. After meetings with the librarian and research on MetSearch, I found a wealth of sources to explore. I had to read alongside writing which I had not wanted to do, but I enjoyed constantly finding more, rather than stopping after the Summer holiday had finished as I had first intended.
For the formative deadline, I had not written as much as I had hoped I would have. I felt lost within my work, as if it wasn’t going anywhere and my argument was unclear. I received a ‘low good’ for my submission with valuable feedback. Initially, I felt disappointed with my result. Looking back, I’m not entirely sure why. I have definitely felt the weight of this thesis on my overall degree throughout the process, adding to the pressure to succeed. I know that, as someone who always succeeded in lower level education, I find it difficult to fail or produce average work, as I always want to be the best. This is not the best quality to have at times and is something that this process has helped me acknowledge. I was not completely happy with what I submitted, and I knew it did not deserve an outstanding grade. With the feedback I received, I manage to completely transform what I submitted into something I am certain would have qualified for a higher grade. I was thankful for the guidance that allowed me to edit my work to be something I was proud of and motivate me to write to a higher standard. After the initial disappointment had subsided, I felt that the grade I got was fair and accurate and hoped that this would increase for my final mark, provided I kept working to a high standard, motivated by the feedback I received and follow up tutorial with my tutor.
I found writing this thesis more difficult than I had expected to. I frequently found it frustrating that I was only writing small amounts at a time, rather than passionately writing pages and pages as I had hoped. The further I got in to the work, however, the easier I found it to write; with more reading came more knowledge and more context for my opinions. I found subjectively analysing images and news articles easier than attempting to objectively acknowledge the work of the Suffragettes, for example. I believe this was due to the fact that the Suffragette period was factual, and I feared writing about it incorrectly. Obviously, to research this time period I read a number of sources, though there is so much to write about that I found it more useful to acknowledge their work briefly throughout, rather than attempt to retell history in a chapter.
My organisation skills have improved considerably through this process. Feeling unfamiliar with referencing and afraid to be penalised for referencing incorrectly, I kept track of my references and quotations from the beginning, so to avoid having to panic over this near the end. I was thankful for having done this in the final weeks. I am sure my academic tone has improved further also, hopefully improving the sophistication of my writing. Though I have never struggled with writing in an academic tone, I have struggled with concisely conveying my idea. Tutorials with my mentor and answering the questionnaire provided on Moodle weekly helped me to sharpen my argument and relay it effectively without loosing sight of my thesis title. In the past, I have had a habit of tip toeing around what I am trying to say and of going off on a tangent, being momentarily inconsiderate of the relevance of some aspects of my work. I feel that this has improved through working on this thesis, and these are details I have been reminding myself of often and working hard at.
I can only measure success in how I feel when I submit the work. As I come close to submitting this thesis, I feel proud and content with the work I have produced and the way in which I have pushed through and overcome obstacles. Having attended all of the organised sessions and also personally organising others, I feel that I did all that I could do, and so I cannot possibly be disappointed. Obviously, there is still an aspect of the unknown, having never written a dissertation before, and I’m sure there will be nerves until the grades are released. Despite this, I feel that I should remind myself, in times of doubt, that I worked to the best of my abilities on this thesis, and I have come a long way since beginning my dissertation journey just over a year ago.