A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

9 thoughts that go through your head when writing a Masters thesis


Many of my friends and I are currently in the midst of our masters theses. As a result, I thought I’d outline some of the typical thoughts that seem to go through every students head as they go through this process.



  1. “I love my topic”

There are definitely many moments of excitement and passion for what you’re researching, telling everyone who is prepared to listen for more than a few minutes some of the ‘exciting’ stories you’ve collected.

  1. “I hate my topic”

But, of course there are also those moments when you cannot bear to read another word that even relates to your research. Suddenly everyone else’s thesis topics sound so much more interesting than yours.

  1. “That’s a lot of words to write”

When you initially realise what the required word count is for your thesis it can seem quite intimidating.

  1. “How am I ever going to stay within the word limit?”

Of course when you’re actually planning and writing your thesis, you realise how much work you’ve already done and how much you want to say. Now it’s more of an issue of trying to limit yourself to the word limit rather than worrying about not having enough to say

  1. “I could be earning money right now”

Something that can definitely be quite frustrating is when you realise that your friends who opted not to do a thesis, are working at ‘real’ jobs, earning money. But hey, at least you’re researching something you love (most of the time) and not stuck in a 9 – 5 job getting coffee for everyone else.

  1. “I think I’ll work from home today”

On those hideous, winter days when you aren’t doing fieldwork it is very easy to decide to just stay at home. While this is always a very attractive thought, I promise you’ll never be as productive as when you go to the library – Netflix and YouTube are just too tempting!

  1. “I’ll never finish this”

Everyone seems to have a day when they look at their calendar and actually realise how long they have until they need to hand in their thesis. Cue minor panic attack.

  1. “I can definitely do this”

However, there are moments (usually aligned with a love for your topic) where you feel empowered, and decide that not only can you write this thesis, but somehow it’s going to change the world.

  1. “I’m so glad I’m a Masters student”

There are definitely some tough parts of the Masters thesis process, but there are also many times when you’re extremely glad that you chose spend this time reading, thinking and writing – especially as an international student. You’re living in an exciting new place, researching something you’re passionate about and who knows, maybe it will change the world, or at least the field you’re working in.

Tot ziens.

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This entry was posted on March 31, 2015 by in Student Life, Study.

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