Are you writing your thesis?

Let’s play a word-association game. Choosing a topic, problem statement, “How to write a thesis tips”, despair, changing the topic, panic, central phenomena, litreview, panic, procrastination, APA, interview, academic writing, inspiration, findings… Yes, all of these things and even more are about a journey that every graduate student has to go through.


Writing a thesis is both daunting and rewarding experience. In my case, and I think, in case of most of my group mates, it is challenging in terms of holding job obligations and thesis writing together. Both responsibilities require high concentration, time and energy consumption, and you cannot sacrifice thesis interests to work, and vice versa. Conclusion? Thesis is a huge work that requires all idle moments of your life. Yes, and time. Entering Master’s Degree and writing my thesis made me appreciate every minute of my life.

However, it is extremely gratifying to gain colossal practice while conducting research, and what is more, I have noticed some changes in myself, like developing this habit of putting “pop-up ideas” on the paper immediately they come to my mind, or, being judgmental and critical to opinions and searching for another side of the coin. I believe that it is research that is leaving an imprint on the way of our thinking and behaviour. Conclusion: for a long life-learner, the research is a mine of information as while doing research you get more and more skills and knowledge.

During this journey I have faced several challenges climbing up every step of my research and I have worked out my own understanding and tips I wish I had known before. First, it is certainly experiencing a culture shock in a new territory. To get an idea “Where am I?” and “What to do with it?”, I started reading tips by graduate students who went through all fire and water. Looking at all those tips made me feel even worse as the number one tip always told about starting it earlier. For left-it-to-the-last-minute type of student, who also works full-time, it seems to be sarcasm but not an advice. Conclusion: the best word of advice you can get from your Research Advisors who are masters at their craft.

Then… How can I know whether enough literature I reviewed or not? My research Advisor once told me that, in fact, in academic world we never stop reading literature as every researcher should be aware of the latest studies conducted by their colleagues, or just to be aware of what is happening in the field of your research. Yes, it is true. However, I still believe that there should be a way of prioritizing literature. The thing is that it is practically impossible to read all the articles published. To illustrate, one credible search engine like Taylor & Francis provides me with more than 8 000 peer-reviewed articles on my topic, and if I read at least 5 a day, I will need more than 4 years to go through all of them. Conclusion: do not try to read everything that search engine offers to you but rationally select what to read. In our circumstances, for students who aim to submit thesis on time, there should be a dead-end point where you stop adding new concepts and try concentrating on what you already have to shape your paper.

And I want to conclude my blog post with great words by great person, a physicist and the developer of the theory of relativity Albert Einstein: “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer”. This is true about writing your thesis. It is not that pivotal to be know-it-all, it is just how much time and care you devote to your paper and how passionate and enthusiastic you are about it.

p.s. The photo was taken by me and posted upon approval of the model)


4 thoughts on “Are you writing your thesis?

  1. Dear Aliya,

    I really enjoyed your post. I read it on one breath. That’s really great that all of us learned to appreciate every minute of our lives and find ways to balance between personal and academic life.
    Regarding prioritizing the literature. I agree that it is impossible and even useless to read every single article that the search engine suggests. However, can you give an advice how to understand what literature is relevant to your research and what literature is not from just glancing at it. Sometimes I read an article till the end and only then understand that I cannot apply it.

    P.S. Very nice photos.


  2. Aliya,
    This is really awesome that you created such a collage yourself – it is a captivating picture! I cannot but agree that it is challenging and stressful to combine study and work. But I suppose this stress is positive. I often think if I could be interested to sign up for the full-time program and, to be honest, I hate the idea! It is cool to absorb the new information and skills during the sessions and then go back to your desk to apply them in real life. I am happy to have such a chance to do both.


  3. Wow! One of the best posts that I have ever read in this blog! You have written your post as a reflection in a very easy and convinient to read style. I have an impression like you started to write what comes to your mind but in a well structured way. Conclusions after each paragraph makes it clear to see your point of view. And the picture is really awesome! Well done!


  4. Well done, Aliya. You can see from the comments that your classmates are impressed with your post. I have been continuously impressed with your writing, especially your thoughtfulness in presenting your ideas in a unique and meaningful way each new post. Good luck applying all that advice to your own work as your continue you thesis project!



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