You’re feeling pretty good about life now that you’ve decided on your thesis topic. No stress, no worries. You still have nearly a year before it’s due, so it’s all good, right?
Not exactly. Do you remember that old saying of how time flies fast? Oh yes, it really does whiz past when you’re not looking. You may have a job, four or five other classes, family responsibilities, volunteer time, and you even manage to squeeze in a few moments for yourself. It’s called living life, and it is all good stuff.
However, if you haven’t had any previous experience working on a large, long-term project, you may be in for a surprise when time sneaks up on you, taps you on the shoulder, and says, “Hey, dude. Your thesis is due next month!” Time lets out an evil “ha-ha-ha” as it slides off to pester its next victim, leaving you frozen, unable to move—chills reaching down to your bones.
You finally thaw, move, manage to breath. Your mind goes into overdrive, and you spend the next month never sleeping. You become a library nomad, traveling from one research location to another. You’re in and out of labs as you pull together the last bits of data you need to write your thesis. You keep panic at bay with caffeine – large, large doses of it, until you finally complete your thesis and have to re-program your heartbeat to a normal rhythm. Congratulations, you survived!
Did it really have to be that way? No.
Here are a few tips to help you navigate your thesis:
- Create a time-table for yourself and stick to it as much as possible.
- Mark quotes while you conduct research, so the quotes are easy to find later. You may want to create a reference list just for quotes, even if you don’t end up using them.
- If your thesis requires you to travel to gather primary sources, plan those days out in advance. You’ll need to match your schedule to the hours your research center is open.
- If you need to conduct interviews or get expert opinions, leave plenty of time to coordinate with other people.
- Submit chunks of your thesis to your readers early, so you have plenty of time for revisions, instead of waiting to send the entire thesis. Your readers have lives too and have been kind enough to support your endeavors.
- Thank your readers and anyone else who has helped you reach your goal.
Incorporate the above tips early and your life will be much easier and more enjoyable.
Written by Sheri Flemming