Tackle Your Semester or Year-Long Thesis

Two Students and Laptop

Theses are papers or projects that display students’ interest and dedication to their major or study of interest.  While their transcript says “seminar” or “independent study” or “workshop,” what it really should say is “thank goodness I like this subject because I don’t know how I could spend an entire semester writing (insert preposterously large number) pages on it otherwise.”  

A thesis is a big deal.  It requires time-management and diligent research and a lot of work.  However, this could be said about going to college in general – you just need to apply the above to your specific area of research.  Assuming you’ve already narrowed down your topic (which is a project in and of itself), a good first step to take is to develop a schedule.  That doesn’t mean “I’m going to spend an hour on my thesis five days a week.”  It means “I’m going to read and take notes on X articles on this day” and “I’m going to interview X person on this day” and “I’m going to write X pages on X topic on this day.”  It is a highly specific timeline meant to keep you personally accountable.  In short, you develop your own schedule. 

Another good practice is to work a little bit on it each day.  “A little bit” doesn’t mean you have to write a page every day – it could be something as small as sending an inquiring email to your adviser or highlighting articles from a bibliography to read in the future.  Immerse yourself in your work so that inspiration hits you, even when you’re not scheduled to have an epiphany. 

If you are reading this as a student who is struggling through a thesis, have faith in yourself and your undertaking.  Pursuing a thesis is not an arbitrary decision, and if you are the kind of student who applies themselves to write one, you are the kind of student to follow through and produce valuable work.