I really did try my hardest


image source: http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01123/astley_1123027c.jpg

Dear all,

Seeing as this is our final blog post, I would like to include in it all the ideas I wanted to share with you but never got around to.

First of all, I know that almost all of our projects got approved by the committee, so congrats on that! I know it has been a long and difficult way, but we’re nearing the end, so I wish everyone strength and perseverance. I for one did not find this journey easy. For one thing, I changed the topic of my research at least twice before I was sure I had picked one I was passionate about. Secondly, I really struggled with my litreview, for a number of reasons (not understanding what a litreview is, difficulties finding sources, problems with the organization of ideas). Also, doing the whole thing online was quite a bit of a challenge: boy was I wrong when I thought I would have time both for work and my studies. Most of the time it was one or the other. And finally, I couldn’t seem to shake this feeling that many of the steps I have to do in my research are not really necessary. The litreview, the problem statement, the APA style – I just thought that I would get all the necessary information by conducting the interviews.

This course, however, helped me deal with some of those challenges. I now understand that without all the mumbo jumbo it is not possible to have any reliable findings, and that the effort that goes into it is definitely worth it.

I do have a couple of recommendations to the instructors, though, and I think most of my fellow students will back me up on this. First of all, since we’re learning how to write a thesis, maybe we could spend some more time analyzing examples of good theses next time. Also, with the writing assignments it was difficult to fit all the information into the word limit. Finally, I think this course could have been less intensive. We have our big research along with the electives, not to mention that all of us are employed full-time. At times I felt that I was spending more time on my mini thesis than I did on my main study.

With that said, I think this course has been very well organized, and I will probably never have another instructor who gives feedback as fast as Philip.


To the students taking this course after us: plan ahead, do your readings, and always keep in touch with your groupmates. Some of them might feel like dropping out, so be there for them. We missed at least two such cases because of the crazy amount of work, but I think everyone will agree with me that this program, and this course in particular, is definitely worth completing.

Diamonds are made under pressure.


5 thoughts on “I really did try my hardest

  1. Dostan,
    Thank you for sharing your ideas. That’s true about finding the studies challenging because of other responsibilities at work. However, as you said ‘Diamonds are made under pressure’ (Dostan, 2015), I hope that our research work will be beneficial for Kazakhstani education. Once we will become the best researchers ever! )))


  2. Dear Dostan,
    The challenges that you mentioned in your post are worth mentioning as we all suffered at times with the load of work and study!

    I found your tips for future online learners are useful and achievable. Personally, I agree that peer collaboration made our study much easier and more supportive


  3. Dostan,

    Your post is something incredible and amazing as usual. Every time I am like having a conversation with you. Because you always have that “zest” which grabs the attention of the readers. In your case it is individualism, personal voice and sense of humor.

    As for the challenges you listed, they are all familiar for me. I remember you addressed the questions on literature review, because you can not arrange the ideas and critically discuss the findings and interrelate them at one paper. Keeping a word limit was also challenging for you. But when we talked last time you told that you are quite good with literature review now. You have learned how to organize it properly. I was happy to hear that. It means your hard work, perseverance and lots of practice crowned with success and satisfaction.

    Wish you good luck ans inspiration!!!!


  4. Dear Dostan,

    First, I would like to say that your posts were the ones I have read more often than any others 🙂 I really like your writing style and all the creative ideas you share.

    This particular post made me think of the fact that our studying at GSE is getting closer to its end… It is great and sad at the same time…
    Indeed, we have learned a lot during this period. I agree with you about our instructor Philip (I have never received such a quick and constructive feedback before) 🙂
    I wsih all of us good luck in completing our main graduate projects 🙂

    And one more thing: thank you for always bringing fun into the classroom 🙂


  5. Dostan, diamonds are indeed made under pressure. You have an elegant simplicity to your writing that makes me want to read more and more. Thank you for sharing your honest reflections and feedback about your progress and the course.

    Your one point about the intensive nature of this English course is one I struggle with every week. Students need examples, and students need practice. But when students are overworked and don’t have time for those examples and practice, their work, their motivation, and their life all suffer. The master plan is that you spend the fall working on this practice assignment, and the spring on your full thesis. Of course, in reality this isn’t perfect. We’ll keep working on it!

    Thanks again for your hard work this semester.



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