Over the winter break, no doubt most of you will be hard at work on the first draft of your master’s projects and theses! Here are some ways to get help before your draft is due, along with some helpful resources and strategies for getting that draft done.
How to Write a Lot by Paul Silvia; this book is geared toward academic writing, but it’s suitable for all kinds of writing, and how to make a habit of it. Best of all, this book is super-short at just 149 pages!
This Gradhacker article has a lot of great tips, primarily geared toward getting yourself in the right mental space to get the work done. The main take-aways:
You are not alone—all your classmates (and those before you) have faced feelings of anxiety, failure, and inability related to this project. You may feel like you’re the only one struggling, but all of us who have trudged the halls of graduate school have faced similar feelings. Reach out for the support of your classmates—they probably need to vent their frustration, too.
Work in small increments, like half an hour. Even a little progress is something. Facing the seemingly insurmountable goal of writing your entire project can seem daunting, but you get it done by just breaking it down into tiny pieces.
Don’t strive for perfection, strive for DONE.
This blog post on outlining shows a great way to break your project up into chunks. Outlines are key to breaking your project into small, digestable pieces, and for keeping you on track.
A focus statement can be helpful: write a one- or two-sentence summary of your project. Write or print it on a notecard or small piece of paper, and keep it in front of you while you work. Look up at it every once in a while, and use it to keep yourself on track. Often, while working on a story or research, your mind will take off on wild tangents—having your focus statement in front of you can help you maximize your time by keeping you focused.
Getting started on your master's project or thesis? Here at the Journalism Library, we have lots of resources to help you get started! If you'd like to look at master's projects/theses from past students, you can access the 2010-2013 ones in Journalism. The 2009 and earlier projects/theses are located on the second floor of Lehman Library. Use our Master's Projects and Theses Index to find specific titles or authors.
New York City's 59 community districts within its 5 boroughs show the incredible diversity of our city. Each district profile contains summary data on population characteristics and land area and use. Using 2010 Census information, these profiles are a great way to know your communities (age, ethnicity, household, income support, population changes), and each community board writes a needs statement at the beginning of the profile, talking about the particular needs and issues – traffic congestion and parking, affordable housing, schools, parks and recreation facilities, economic and retail development, and more. This statement provides a context for development and budget priorities.
There is one bound volume per borough available in the reference section of the Journalism Library, call number HT168.N3.
These profiles are also available online and for download in PDF format:
Congratulations on your upcoming graduation! Wondering what Columbia library privileges you'll have after graduation? Here's the scoop:
Your Columbia UNI and password will continue to give you electronic access to library resources for a grace period of about 6 months after graduation (assuming you were registered during the spring semester). The Library Information Office (LIO) encourages you to continue to use your UNI during the grace period for all eresource access (electronic databases, ebooks, ejournals), and after this time, you may obtain an alumni ID card through LIO. The cost is $5 payable with Visa, MasterCard or personal check (cash is not accepted). Borrowing privileges may be purchased for $30 per month.
Everything you wanted to know about NYC zoning but were afraid to ask! It’s all here in the Zoning Handbook, 2011 edition from the Department of City Planning – now at your fingertips in the Journalism Library, call numberKFX2079 .A2 2011g.
What does FAR stand for? What is a restrictive declaration? What is a tax lot? In what forms would one see a Privately Owned Public Space? Get the answers to these and much more in the Zoning Handbook. With maps, data tables, information on special purpose districts, it’s great reference for all things pertaining to NYC zoning!
Borrow Direct – a book-borrowing consortium between the libraries of Brown University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University – will be expanded soon to include additional institutions in the service – Harvard and MIT!
Beginning in summer 2011, faculty, students, and staff from Columbia and the six partner institutions will also have access to regularly circulating materials from Harvard and MIT. This expansion increases the number of volumes available to Columbia scholars from more than 45 million to almost 70 million.