An Open Letter To My Dissertation

June 23, 2014 § 1 Comment

Dear Dissertation,

I’ve been putting off writing this letter for some time now, as I believed, or rather fruitlessly hoped, that these negative feelings that have been tormenting me recently would pass. However, after torturous weeks of typing, reading, phone calls, typing, emails, research and sweating in the library, all combined with – you’ve guessed it – more typing, I have finally had enough.

Tonight, I practically ran home from work, slammed the door behind me, struggled as fast as I could to get out of my chicken-infused trousers and then collapsed on the living room rug, in just my pants, and began typing again. This is how bad things have become, Dissertation. I no longer even have time to put on clean trousers.


I have this distant memory of a girl, not so dissimilar to myself, who was fun, who could accept invitations out from friends, who wanted to converse with others and for whom this was possible without having to force a polite smile or use all her brain power not to become distracted. Now, I wake up in the morning – from a nightmare-permeated sleep in which legged letters follow me through dark corridors and the merciless sound of fingers bashing a computer keyboard echoes from every corner – to an expanse of dread and joylessness. The only light left in my life is that which shines obnoxiously from the screen, mocking me from its very core as my eyes glaze over and the jumbled words in front of me become ever more incomprehensible.

When I’m not with you, when I take a break for even ten minutes to have a much-needed shower, the guilt sets in almost immediately. I just want to shave my legs! Is that really so much to ask?! Evidently it is, as I find myself again in front of that cursed light, face in my hands, rocking myself backwards and forwards, desperately awaiting the 15,000 words which I know will never come.

I no longer function on a normal time scale; everything is related to you. I try to wash the overwhelming build-up of clothes in the washing basket, but you refuse to let me. ‘Come back to me’, you taunt. ‘Come back to me and you’ll feel alright again.’ I could be punched in the face and all I would care about is whether or not it would effect my reading ability.

Every. single. person. on Facebook seems to be gleefully frolicking with dolphins in the Caribbean sea, with a piña colada in one hand and an immense wad of dispensable cash in the other. On my horizon, there are only dark, rain-filled clouds, and my current diet consists of old chicken (scavenged from work three days ago), stale, dry tobacco which I barely have time to roll into cigarettes and awful own-brand Aldi coffee.


I could have done anything; the world was once my oyster. I could have tracked elephants across the deserts of South Africa or become an air hostess and seen the world. But no, I chose this Master’s in Journalism and sitting here in this useless Edinburgh library, writing about rubbish that absolutely no one wants to read about, least of all me.

I just want to stop thinking about you, Dissertation, because I believe doing so has driven me to the brink of madness. I walk to places and have no idea why I am there, and the other day I could not, for the life of me, work out if ‘worryingly’ was a word. Please relinquish your grip on me, Dissertation, for it is more than I can bare.

I cannot envisage a future before me. All I see is typing, stuffy academic sources and the impenetrable, heart-achingly lonely, soul-destroying walls of the library. Please give me back my joy and my long-forgotten sense of optimism. Please hurry up and be over. Please just let me be.

Your eternally suffering creator,



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