If you have a million creative ideas, plus you are easily stressed and you have once been a victim to procrastination…
You are at risk of becoming a Thesis Zombie.
When ‘thesis season’ comes around, students usually go into deep hibernation mode (much like the Swedish brown bears). Hair appointments get abandoned, relationships get strained and they spend long hours in their room/ library typing the hours away. In addition to that, they barely eat, take ten years to respond to texts. I have seen it many times and to be honest it is a little scary. Finishing up your degree can be quite a daunting task especially if you are a high achiever. Putting everything together in just a couple of months is a stressful task for many, regardless of the level of your programme.
Avoid becoming a Thesis Zombie
In a couple of months, I’ll be putting the final stitches of my degree together. This will mark the end of my Masters in Criminology. Now, becoming a Thesis Zombie will mean i am controlled by my thesis. That is not something I look forward to. I would, of course, like my final months studying to be rewarding, filled with excitement, beautiful memories and lots of Fika. What sparked these zombie resistant thoughts? Yesterday a lecturer in my department introducing us to our degree project (fancy name for the master’s thesis) course. In this session where he said gave us solid advice to approaching the thesis season. After arriving home I gathered my notes and continued my preparations. Considering that I won’t be the only one on this journey, I figured I would share some advice with you.
Well begun is half done. – Aristotle.
He emphasised this quote a number of times and I absolutely love it. In order to have an easier time in writing your paper why not begin with proper preparations? A very good outline of what you want to do and a timeline for it works well in creating the perfect framework for your thesis. This can also mean preparing a nice project plan and seeing if your idea can actually come to life. Finding topics can be hard, especially at the last minute, so take some time to think it through !
Thesis Zombies aren’t organised. Be organised.
Organising your time can prove to be beneficial in the long wrong. Balancing your social life, eating times, and work times will make executing the plan much easier and you won’t miss out on significant events around you. It will also allow you to be much healthier, mentally and psychically at the end of the day. You will have more energy to conduct your research and your social life will still be intact.
Ask Questions & Get Feedback
This is probably two of the most awkward things for people to do. Asking questions can be nerve-wracking and some feedback can mess with our confidence. As such many of us avoid these two points just to be safe from embarrassment. But what is more embarrassing, having an incoherent paper or receiving help? At the end of it all, you want to put your best foot forward. So an advice that I will also take with me is to ask many questions and get feedback on the way. Your time with your supervisor is limited, so its good to use it wisely. In addition to that, there are many individuals who are willing to help you but to get the help, you need to ASK.
Relax. Take one step at a time.
This is probably easier said than done, but zombies don’t relax, so you should! Taking it easy means not overexerting yourself. If you are organised it makes things even better. Worrying about deadlines and word counts at the last minute will reflect poorly in your paper. It will be obvious when you did your thesis as a sprint rather than a marathon. This will not only waste your time but also your supervisors time. Take it easy and go through your plan with confidence and a positive attitude.
Execute the Plan
The most exciting part of your paper should be the execution. You will see everything come to life in the order in which you planned it. By this time there is still room/time for minor corrections, so asking and getting feedback should continue. The good thing is that once you had a clear plan and objective, the pieces of the puzzle are easier to assemble. A good point is to just write and keep on writing. You will be amazed on the awesome ideas that will come about when you just let your pen go wild. Fine tuning and editing can come later.
Have you ever felt like a Thesis Zombie? Do you have anymore tips to help students better prepare for thesis season?