Although I studied Aerospace Engineering, I’ve always had an interest in automotive industry and F1. After choosing the topic of my dissertation from the list we were provided with, I quickly realised that it wasn’t something I wanted to work on for a year. I mean, at the end of the day, this project was worth at least 20 credits (depending on the course) and was something I needed to work on mostly on my own for a whole year! So, when choosing your dissertation topic, make sure that subject is something you like, you’re good at and you have an interest in.
After a month of working on the first chosen topic I took the ‘risk’ and proposed my own project idea. I finally knew what I wanted to do! In the end, the title of my dissertation was “Design and CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) Analysis of an Air Intake of a Formula Car with a 4-Stroke 4-Cylinder Engine” (I know… it’s quite a long title).
I was lucky enough to have a great supervisor who understood my idea, encouraged it and gave me enough freedom to work on my project in my own way, but also gave me support and guidance when I needed it to make sure I was on the right track.
Now, when I look back at my life as a student, the thing I enjoyed most during my academic career was working on my dissertation. Remember that this is the first piece of work where YOU decide what the focus of it will be, and YOU have total power over your time and resources. Not to mention that this experience will also prepare you for your future job where you will often be given full responsibility for a particular project.
So, my advice to you is to make sure that you choose a topic you like. If you can’t find it on the list, then don’t settle. Propose your own idea to those academics whose expertise is identifiable with what you want to do, and sell it! Also, don’t leave anything to the last minute. Work on your dissertation, completing a small part every day. As cliché as it sounds, creating a Gantt Chart and a proper plan will help you a lot! A Gantt Chart will help you to map out all the tasks you need to do in order to finish your dissertation or project. Having everything planned out clearly will give you a sense of control and help you to feel less stressed, as you can see exactly what you need to do and when that’s going to happen. Remember to make your plan realistic though! If you set yourself unrealistic goals and deadlines that you can’t meet, it might negatively affect your motivation.
But most of all: Enjoy working on your dissertation and be proud of it!!
By Andra (member of the Student Team)