BSc thesis: Confessions of a serial planner
I am not ashamed to say I like planning and I pride myself that it mostly works (maybe not 100%, but I would say I am about right in stating that it does work at least 75% of the time). That may not sound a lot, but after a while I learned to adjust my expectations… but that is a whole other story…
The issue, you see, is that not only am I a planner, but I am also someone who likes to keep busy. I am a firm believer in not having just one goal at a time, but at least two, if not three. Of course, my goals don’t involve buying a house, buying another house and buying a holiday home all at the same time – but they can often involve doing a school assignment, working on building a new technical skill while not forgetting to work on your language skills, all within a busy and not very long period of time.
Most of the time, I find a suitable solution, or I use the pressure as a motivating factor. But then… something happened.
As the winter holiday finished, I started to feel a small breeze of responsibility around my aura. And as days passed, the breeze strengthened, and then in mid-February I found myself in a quiet space in the middle of these winds, finding a thesis topic. Luckily, I had a thesis partner, so I was not alone in the eye of this light storm.
Now for those of you who still have a long way until your thesis starts, I have one piece of advice: stop and think more often about that huge assignment from the distant future.
Don’t just think about topics that are interesting to dig deeper into; but also about topics that are feasible to be approached as a thesis. Think about data collection, think about potential collaborators, think about the time planning of that semester. It will help tremendously!
Of course, my goals don’t involve buying a house, buying another house and buying a holiday home all at the same time
I must be honest and say that I missed that step. I planned to take it, but then life kind of did not make sense, and baking dough in different shapes is not the healthy routine that can lead to an undying source of motivation. But enough! There will be no pandemic next winter, so you: yes, you! Save yourself and think about topics and their feasibility ahead of time!
But back to my story… Here I was, in a small storm finding a topic, and then the storm slowed down, and we found a great topic, a great supervisor, a great company and we were ready to start. And so, for a brief moment, I felt the winds of thesis stress move away. A moment brief enough for me to realize I should increase my Danish skills, and that I could work on some technical skills…
However, almost as soon as those thoughts came into my mind, the storm got closer again and I knew I had to leave everything else aside. And I did. I only had one thing on my mind for three and a half months: the thesis.
This was new, but it was actually quite intriguing. It was a new, intriguing ride!
Between the struggles of finding the right literature, the right structure, the right way to express our findings, I really cherished the steep learning curve the BSc thesis presented to both me and my partner. I suddenly felt like a sponge that uses all the resources gained in the past two and a half years to make a great report (granted, at the time I am writing this, I do not know the grade for our project). I felt a rush, a full speed rush from just one goal.
And probably you, the bachelor student in you, will feel the same.
The storm was getting bigger and stronger just before May when we handed in our final project. But then the sun came out, and we had so much time. I had so much time for planning… And yet, I did not have any power to do so…
Why did I have no power? I was just recently pumped with motivation to create a good thesis, to reach a key goal, and now what?! Now I cannot challenge the same energy with other goals?
No, don’t get me wrong, a thesis should get the most and best out of you, but shouldn’t leave you with no energy in the end
Turns out: no, I can’t.
In the midst of it all, I forgot about something that I have now learned should always be part of my plans and should always be part of my goals: me. I was so focused on the thesis that even when I was eating, or watching a video on YouTube, I was still only thinking about my thesis. I even had days at work where my brain would come up with ideas of how to improve our paper (and most of them worked). But that was my time to relax, my time to break off from the topic, my time to give my brain a moment to restart.
And I did not use it properly. I gave in to the thoughts about the thesis and ended up using more than just my current energy – I also used my future energy…
No, don’t get me wrong, a thesis should get the most and best out of you, but shouldn’t leave you with no energy in the end. It is fine, I am slowly building myself back up: I have started to enjoy the sun and I can already feel just by writing this blog that things are getting back to normal. I am now looking forward to seeing if I got into my desired master’s program and if I can take a flight to Greece soon.
However, despite getting myself back together, this should be a PSA for all of you who are like me, who like the busy times and love planning each moment: don’t forget to be busy with you, and don’t forget to plan time to build yourself up again!