Do you feel the panic of the thesis? Fear not – student writer Danielle has the ultimate guide to survival (and success!)
This is the time we knew it came from as far back as when we were fresh wide-eyed, with money in our pockets, an unstained uniform that fit us and dreamed of academic success.
In second grade, we heard that legendary word, a low whisper in the library as we planned our electives – but we didn’t worry because it wasn’t for us yet.
Now is the third year, you may even have a job in sight when you qualify and feel happy with your placement. You know what you are doing! âLet me see these patients,â you think, planning a hedonistic vacation ready to pay your first paycheck.
Only one thing stands in your way: the thesis.
Synonymous with tears, coffee, more tears and typing 8,000 words.
I don’t even know 8,000 words.
If your university looks like mine, your cohort will be split into two camps:
1) Those already plunged into the throes of their thesis. Buried in endless books, journal articles and printed pages, with a laminated mockup of their first-class diploma neatly taped to the mold-infested walls of the student digs. They live and breathe the thesis.
2) Those who write and rewrite the word “Essay” in a variety of fonts. Yes we know you can’t use WingDings or Comic Sans but it’s so cheerful, and maybe if the title looks nice it will distract from the fact that there is no writing below. They wonder if a five taped to every blank page will cause the pity of a distant marker and a free lunch. But that plan is thwarted – you submit electronically.
There is no middle ground. There is no escaping it.
So I, in my benevolent wisdom, devised some tips to help master the thesis.
1. Your supervisor is your best friend. Email them often, use supervision sessions. Choose their academic brains! Your thesis can be a partnership, bouncing ideas, asking for feedback, letting them know how you’re doing, especially if you have no idea what you’re doing.
2. Chronology. Fix one with your supervisor: methodology done by then, conclusion by then. Allow yourself a few weeks for editing, proofreading and cross-checking. I love doing homework the night before, but it’s not going to work this time.
3. Schedule. Plan every moment of your life, from waking up to sleeping. Cut out two time blocks dedicated to work, personal life, conferences, seminars, netflix, library, etc. and the thesis. Hold on to it and be firm with yourself. No netflix during your thesis hours.
4. Silence. Eliminate all distractions while you work on your masterpiece. Try to find a quiet place. If you feel restless, take a short break, then come back to work.
5. Nutrition and hydration. Try to eat well, although when you are tired and focused on success, it is tempting to have cereals or crisps and sugar-filled snacks that will keep you going. We know that good nutrition equals good brain function. Plan and prepare meals ahead of time so that they can be reheated as you need them, or set aside an hour or so off the books for evening cooking if you like to prepare your meals each day.
6. Procrastination will only save time. Less time means more stress. More stress means reduced productivity. Facebook doesn’t care about your future – just remember when scrolling through videos of cats doing human things.
7. Do fun things too. All the work and no play will only increase your stress levels.
8. Referencing. Know what style you are doing. Keep a separate page from all sources, literature and articles, etc. There is nothing worse than having information in front of you and not knowing where you got it from.
9. Think âit’s not foreverâ because it isn’t. Unless you choose to become an academic …
10. Go ahead and get that note! You can thank me as you waltz in your cap and dress towards this beautiful embossed scroll of the finest corporate paper.
I have full confidence in you! Good luck!
Peace and love, Danielle xx