04May2018

HOW TO SURVIVE YOUR THESIS: FIVE TIPS TO HELP YOU ON YOUR WAY – Liesa (NETHERLANDS)

Writing a thesis may prove one of the most challenging aspects of your degree. Your thesis will likely be much longer than any essay you’ve ever written, will require multiple drafts, and will have to be defended in front of a panel of experts. Consequently, it may seem like a daunting task to even start the whole project. Even though I haven’t graduated just yet, and am still in the process of finalizing my thesis, I feel like I could give some tips for starting this project.

  1. Start Early

If you plan on writing your thesis next year, start working on it now. This doesn’t mean that you have to literally start writing right this moment. It just means, that you should probably consider who you want as your supervisor. If you really want a specific professor to help you with your thesis, it is better to ask them earlier than latter. After all, others may also want this professor and they might have to tell you know if they already have too many students that need supervision. Of course, when asking for supervision you should probably indicate the general topic on which you wish to write. This doesn’t have to be too specific, but it should be general enough for a professor to determine if their expertise suits your topic.

  1. Topics topics topics

Once you have your supervisor (or not), it is time to narrow down on your topic. You can basically use your entire summer holiday for this. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you aren’t able to completely finalise your topic. It’s a work in process, and, at this point, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Regardless of what you have or don’t have at the end of the summer, schedule a meeting with your supervisor once the semester starts. If you at this point don’t have a supervisor yet, don’t worry. Simply schedule a meeting with your course coordinator and they might be able to help you out. After this meeting, you will definitely have a better idea of what you want to do.

  1. Schedule regular meetings with your supervisor

Your supervisor might not be able to look into your work at all times. In fact, mine only read my work twice this semester. So in order for you to know exactly what your supervisor wants and doesn’t want, you should regularly meet up with them. This is one of the easiest and quickest ways to figure out how to advance your work. Even if you get bad feedback, still communicate with your supervisor. Trust me, they want you to succeed, so just ask for extra help/explanations if you don’t understand something.

  1. Take time off.

Your thesis is likely going to be a massive project, and takes time to write. Nevertheless, it is only healthy to make some time for yourself. Definitely, make the time to participate in some social activities every once in a while. Seriously, continuously working on your thesis is not going to help you. Especially, since you might not be able to see your own mistakes anymore. So take some time off, get a hobby, or even take a course to diversify your daily activities.

  1. Plan ahead.

Some people say that diamond are made under pressure, and that the same thing goes for essays and other assignments.  For me, personally, it just doesn’t work like that. The more pressure you put me under, the more stressed I’m going to be. So if you are anything like me, start planning ahead. Your supervisor is likely going to give you some deadlines. If not, then meet with them and establish some. This is going to hold you accountable, and ensure that you do some work. I also give myself personal deadlines, but this might not work for everybody. Regardless, I would recommend that you just pin a piece of paper somewhere where you update all your deadlines. Honestly, very few things are more satisfactory than ticking of some tasks related to your thesis.

Hopefully these tips will help you in writing your thesis!