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Writing a master’s thesis #5: We made it!

All around CBS, students are walking around with their hands full of flowers and their family standing beside them with champagne, just like Helena Bendix Nielsen on this photo. Congratulations on completing your educations! (Photo: Caroline Mandalis)

Monday the 30th of May was the culmination of everything I have worked towards since commencing my studies at CBS in 2016: Obtaining my master’s degree in International Business Communication.

At 13:30, my thesis partner and I walked down the stairs from Dalgas Have’s first floor where we had just conducted our thesis defence, and I quickly spotted my mom, sister, boyfriend, and friends, all waiting to congratulate me, pop a bottle of champagne, hand over beautiful flowers, and celebrate my new title of cand.ling.merc.

The defence

Prior to celebrating with our loved ones, we naturally had to nail our thesis defence.

Assuming that Dalgas Have would most likely be full of graduates and their families, we had booked a group room to rehearse our presentation in peace without the distraction of cheering and champagne corks popping in the hallway.

However, we should have known that CBS would be using the room for exams, thus overruling our booking without letting us know. Frustrating? Yes. Surprising? Not exactly.

Hence, we were confined to the newly decorated study room next to the entrance where the air was thick with nerves and tension.

It was an unexpected beginning to the day, but there was nothing we could do about it, so there we sat with our computers and cue cards, practising our presentation to each other one last time while getting more and more nervous.

Helena and her thesis-buddy Klara managed to get through their defense, despite of nerves. (Photo: Caroline Mandalis)

The clock struck 11:59 and our thesis supervisor invited us into the exam room.

She and the censor were ready for us, and we were as ready as we could be.

The thesis defence itself resembled my bachelor’s defence quite a bit, as it felt less being questioned and more like an enjoyable conversation about our research and findings.

Seventy-five minutes later, we passed our thesis with flying colours and could call ourselves graduates of International Business Communication.

It feels strange to close this chapter of my life, since being a student has served as my main framework for the past six years

Helena Bendix Nielsen

How does it feel to have graduated?

I have been asked that question many, many times since graduating a week ago. Quite frankly, I still have not quite grasped that I will no longer be going to lectures in the auditoriums, attending online classes, meeting my friends for post-class coffees or beers, or booking seats at the library for some late-night studying.

I have had so many obligations during the past week that I have barely had the time to sit down and let it sink in: Job applications, job interviews, and the obligatory welcome meeting at the unemployment insurance fund with everything that entails. The wheels have kept turning, and that non-study-related book I have been looking forward to reading is still on my bookshelf.

So, when people ask me how it feels, I tell them it feels strange. Because it really does.

It feels strange to close this chapter of my life, since being a student has served as my main framework for the past six years.

It feels strange to have graduated because I do not yet know what is waiting for me at the end of summer.

It feels strange because I now need to figure out who I am when not identifying as a student.

Goodbye CBS

In August 2016, I walked through the doors to Dalgas Have for the first time.

My best friend Henriette and I were both admitted to the same study programme, and we were so excited to see what CBS had in store for us.

Helena and her friend Henriette on their first day at CBS back in 2016. (Photo: Helena Bendix Nielsen)

For me, it has been a journey full of ups and downs: new friends, a lot of learning and studying (at times it felt like too much), personal discoveries, a change of bachelor programmes, working student jobs on the side, obtaining a bachelor’s degree, going on exchange, and now finalizing it all by earning my master’s degree.

It has been a pleasure, CBS, but now I am ready to spread my wings and fly to new destinations.

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