As you probably know by now I was writing my thesis for the last months. And since Monday I am officially done…wohooooooo – see a little sneak peek of my printed thesis in this post! I can tell you its an amazing feeling to be done! Now I can have some break before I have to hit the books again for my exams in fall : )
During my studies I’ve written lots of different papers, but none of them was any longer than maybe 20 pages. Nothing compared to the 70 pages I handed in on Monday. It has been intense last six months, during which I learned quite a lot about myself, the way I work, how much workload is good for me, how I can relax and so much more. In my eyes the act of writing a thesis comes with a very intense time, that everyone handles very differently. For instance, one of my friends is usually isolating herself, working from home and not to be seen a lot anymore, while another friend has to get out of the house every evening to get social. As far as for me, I am open to relaxing nights – aka dinners, movie nights and so on, but I completely lose my interest in partying – but I do prefer a nice evening at home over the other options.
So now that my thesis is over I thought I would share some of my personal advice I would give to a friend asking me how to master your thesis. Here we go:
- Timetable: I think this is key for a good thesis. When you know what time you are gonna write, sit down with your calendar and start planning. How much time to you have? Are there any holidays, birthdays or other special events you have to consider? What are fixed dates from your university? How much time do you have each week? Do you have to work next to it? What will be your working days, which are your free days?
- Get an early start: I know everyone says it, but it is so true. Try to start early, because time pressure at the end simply sucks. Of course, some people need a certain amount of time pressure to really get started, but if you are one of them, try to make the pressure yourself early on. Not everyday is the same and not everyday you will be able to concentrate and focus on your writing. If you start early take those days, without feeling guilty and enjoy your free day.
- Work together: This is something that personally helped me so much. I was writing my thesis together with two very good friends. And I tell you, writing your thesis is a very ‘lonely’ work itself – you are in it alone. So getting as much support as you can from friends and family is helping so much. But when they are not doing it themselves or haven’t written a thesis yet, it is hard to get the right amount of understanding. So find friends who write at the same time as you do and get together, I assure you it will help a lot. If there is no one in your group of friends, who is going threw the same, ask around in your classes or see who is frequently visiting the library. I am sure you will see familiar faces and they will be happy to chat over a coffee about their thesis too.
- Talk about your worries: Don’t think you are alone with your stresses and worries. Even though you are alone with the content of your thesis, you are not alone with the worries. As with the point before, get together with your friends and talk about what is bothering you. They might go through the same or have some good tips. But make sure you are not only talking about your thesis. Sit down during your lunch break, get your worries off your chest, but then hop to another topic, that has nothing to do with your thesis.
- Work at the library: They are some who love going to the library, like me, but there are also some who don’t see the benefit of it. If you are like me, stay working there : ) If you are not a fan of the library, please try it out. Take your friends, go there together and try it out for one week. I promise it will help you so much. If for no reason, then simply because you are having a line between work and free time. You will be able to go home, leaving your thesis behind and knowing you won’t have to do anything for it at home at night! You will appreciate and enjoy your free time much more.
- Get some exercise: As you will be sitting a lot in front of your laptop it is important to get out, move your body and get some air. Bike to the library, go for a run, walk home or at least part of your way.
- Take breaks: If you are working at the library with your friends, get a good lunch break, chat around – but as mentioned before, not just about your thesis : ) If you are working from home, maybe you can schedule little tasks like getting groceries or cleaning your bathroom in your lunch break, so you get some exercise and take a mental break from your thesis. I also know from a friend who went for a run everyday during her break – I envy that!
- The right tool: This might be a weird tip, but you have no idea how glad I was that I decided to invest in a new laptop! So if you are thinking about buying a new laptop because your old one isn’t working well anymore, then do it now! I had to work with a statistic software and I don’t think my “Birne” would have mangaged it.
- Work organized from the beginning: I know it can be annoying to keep track of your literature and quotes all the time, but if you do it right from the beginning you will save lots of time at the end. The same goes with the formatting of your word document. Just take some minutes after a lunch break, when we usually work a little slower anyway, to create a good format model for your thesis, considering the effective rules of your department.
- Enjoy it: I know it is a funny tip, but seriously try to enjoy it. I learned so much about myself and feel as I have grown a lot. And when you have friends on board it can actually turn into a fun activity.
So these were my tips, what are yours?
Now I am off to a fun day with my two partners in crime to enjoy our time without the thesis in our minds – sauna, swimming and relaxing in the sun here I come!