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Writing a master’s thesis #1: Are we ready for this?

Writing a thesis can be very tiring. You might need a nap to regain your strength. (Private photo of Klara)

If you’re also in the midst of writing your master’s thesis, I bet you recognize the nagging feeling of not being quite ready for it. I mean, just. Not. Ready. At. All.

The feeling of not being smart enough to be at that stage of your education. The final stage.

The feeling of insecurity. 120 pages, topic, deadline, partner, is there an adult present?

The feeling of not being grown up enough for what awaits you on the other side. Adult life.

The time is now

You may not have that nagging, gut-wrenching feeling anymore, and you may not even have had it at all, however for me it didn’t occur until midway through the second semester.

The other day, punctual as always, Snapchat was kind enough to remind me of a memory from April 2021: I had sent my friends a picture of me attending an introductory thesis webinar, and accompanying the picture was the text “It feels crazy that we’re about to do this. I don’t feel ready enough or adult enough.” Which I think sums up my feelings at the time pretty well.

As I sat there, trying to concentrate on the content of the webinar, it was clear by the other attendees’ facial expressions that we all slowly began to comprehend that our theses were approaching us at a more rapid speed than any of us had imagined. The message of the webinar was clear: You have to begin the process now.

Chatbesked
Sometimes coffee is all that get's you through a day of studying. (chatmessage by Helena)

I remember my friends replying to my Snapchat.

They all felt the same as me, essentially, leaving us all baffled. Baffled about the thought of actually having made it this far and baffled about now having to begin the project that serves as the culmination of our studies.

Decisions, decisions, decisions

As if finishing my second semester exams, working, and preparing for going on exchange were not enough, now I also had to start thinking about something that was more than half a year ahead. Despite my busy schedule leaving me little mental surplus to spare for the thesis, I soon found myself thinking about it around the clock:

Do I want to write the thesis alone? Will I be lonely if I do? Would it be wiser to find a thesis partner? Who should it be? Do I know anyone well enough? Am I a disciplined person? What do I even want to write about? Am I smart enough to write a thesis?

Months passed by and all of a sudden, the calendar was showing the 23rd of September.

Do I want to write the thesis alone? Will I be lonely if I do? Would it be wiser to find a thesis partner?

Helena Bendix Nielsen

In the meantime, I had finished up my exams at CBS, gone on exchange to Estonia, and found a thesis partner in my friend, Klara.

After two years of studying mostly by myself at home, I had come to the decision that partnering up with someone and forcing myself to go outside the four walls of my apartment, hopefully getting into a good daily routine, would probably do wonders for me.

Portrait of two women

Helena and her thesis-buddy Klara, while being on exchange in Estonia. (Privat photo)

That final weekend in September, Klara decided to come and visit me on exchange, allowing us an intense weekend of coffee, brainstorming, Googling, and more coffee.

Together, we agreed on our topic, the scope of our project, and found a supervisor, and that weekend, the thought of writing our master’s thesis went from how on earth do we do this? To we can do this!

Together, we decided to take on the 120-page thesis that is due on the 16th of May.

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