A lot of people warn about major works, saying they’re not worth the time you invest into them and don’t always translate to a good ATAR. The truth is though, major works are bloody fantastic because they allow you to explore a subject in much greater detail, replicating the level of investigative or creative work that’s expected of you after school.

The problem remains that they’re still hard work and we all know about the sleepless nights, stress and endless procrastination that happens when you have a major work. Instead of denying this, or letting the stress build up until you’re lying in a puddle of tears the night before it’s due, there are a few things you can do to ensure you’re on top of it.

1. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel

Teachers and assessment outlines will encourage you to experiment – and a lot of the times this will reflect your creativity and engagement with course material – but you have to remember that you’re not Pablo fucking Picasso. Nor are you going to write a ground breaking short story for your English major work that breaks all the rules of narrative, and trying to do so will only set yourself up with an unconquerable task. Do take risks and avoid clichés, but remember to reign in your expectations so they remain achievable.

2. Love what you do, and do what you love

The great thing about major works is that they let you follow a particular subject you’re interested in or are really good at. When choosing a topic for your major work, it’s best to carry on with this and pick an area that interests you. Be sure to spend time really establishing this idea, too. Having a weak idea can mean everything falls apart closer to the deadline but a well built out idea will make you excited to work on it every day.

3. Accept that the love for your major work will probably die at some point

On the other hand, don’t freak out if you start to feel the love dwindle. A major work can be a hard slog, so don’t expect to love it for every single second. It’s kind of like when you find a song you love so bloody much that you put it on repeat for three days straight. By the end of it, the song is almost painful to listen to and your major work is the same. Eventually, you’ll be sick and tired of whatever topic or theme you’ve chosen- this doesn’t mean you should give up or totally ditch the idea. Once you’ve found a concept put your head down and stick to it.

4. Establish a routine

The best way to approach a major work is to chip away at it- every day if you can. No assignment should be done last minute, of course, but these ones especially should not be attempted without adequate time and energy. The truth is, this isn’t a single essay that you can bullshit your way through hours before it’s due. Establish a routine that sets aside regular time to work on your major work, even if it’s just 20 minutes a day.

5. Ease up

Sometimes the stress reaches a critical point and there’s no amount of work or worrying that we can do to fix it. This is when we need to treat ourselves, and make sure we’re getting enough fun, exercise and fresh air to survive. Cut yourself some slack and give yourself a chance to breathe- if you’re at a serious roadblock that you can’t seem to get around, sometimes the best thing is just to take a step away and come back to it later.