But it was an undertaking.
And the scope is hard to realize until you’re in the midst of it, floating amongst the wreckage of countless articles, books, theories and half-realized dreams…but once I was safely ashore, I realized that there were a few things that made it very much bearable. And maybe it’ll help some other poor, cross-eyed soul in the aether.
Good luck, friends.
Thesis Tips to Keep your Brain in One Piece
1. Choose a topic that you’re not only passionate about, but will be able to spend months of time on. It will be a topic that you will be in the thick of for a long time, so you better be able to come back to it again. And again. And again.
2. When you choose a thesis director, ask a professor who knows at least some of your body of work, someone who has challenged you to improve. It also needs to be someone you’re comfortable with.
3. Make yourself a schedule and share it with your director, so they can help keep you on track. Otherwise, you will find yourself with a lot less time than you thought and 3x the work. It’s easy to put things off. It’s hard as hell to get caught up.
4. Regardless of whether you’re an outliner or pantser, write an outline. Write many outlines–pre-drafting, during drafting, post-drafting. Keep your thesis (your whole point) in mind during every chapter, or you will find yourself adrift.
5. You won’t be able to fit everything in this sucker. Save the stuff that won’t fit for later. It’s OK. If you’re like me, you’re a glutton for punishment and you’ll go back for more. And you’ll have the material for the more already in a Word document. Which you have saved in many, many places, because you’re a good little researcher.
And breathe. A lot. Don’t cut out the fun stuff in your life, because you’re going to need that release now more than ever.