A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Only sleeping for around three hours per day.
Typing endlessly with techno or swing in my ear phones.
Still working out on a daily basis.
Never cried (LOL).
Submitted 1 hour before the deadline.
The lines above pretty much sum up what I have been doing in the last 8 days. Yes I finished my Bachelor’s graduation thesis in 8 days. Why? Because I also have a lot of assignments to do apart from this 10-EC research project. Let me tell you the whole story of “a Chinese student at Leiden University College The Hague fell in love with her thesis and feel like she just gave birth to a pretty baby now” (That’s a weird title…).
1) Research and academic writing
Actually the Bachelor’s thesis is called “Capstone” here at LUC The Hague. Someone made a joke about it that it was really like a stone cap… Having seen senior students get overwhelmed about their theses, I roughly started preparing for capstone in my second year to prevent myself from being too stressed out. I thought about what I wanted to do, and then contacted a professor who became my supervisor later. And then I just gradually collected concrete ideas over the summer. In February I handed in my research proposal. On April 15 I only had 2000 words for my thesis and I nearly freaked out. On May 11, at 11pm, I handed in the digital copy of my thesis. 65 pages, 9000+ words in the main text, and nicely formatted. I mentioned at the beginning that I finished my thesis in 8 days. I was exaggerating a bit, because I started researching in January, so the research processes actually took around 4 months.
One of the most inspiring teacher I had at LUC was Dr. Medhi Parvizi Amineh. I took his course “Global Energy Security and Geopolitics”, and my mindsets about academic works have altered a lot when I finished this course. Dr. Amineh told us that, to see whether your current topic of research is the perfect one, you need to have some clear ideas about the three things below:
You like the topic
You know the topic
You have enough sources for the topic
After confirming that my topic is indeed what I want to do, the writing of the capstone a less painful experience. I really liked what I learned from this project.
Now I’m happy. Not extremely, but I am happy that I handed in something decent.
2) How I ate, slept, and managed to not put my health at risk
– Try to avoid caffeine. Caffeine only makes you hyper-active for a short while, after which half of your brain cells will hibernate.
– Drink a whole lot of water. I think water helps your thinking flow.
– Take adequate amounts of vitamins every day.
– DO NOT be lazy and rely on Thuisbezorgd/food delivery. *Clearing throat* According to scientific studies, excessive salt, fat, or other bad things will damage your brains… I think.
– Walnuts are good. Nuts really boost the activity of your body; at least it worked very well in my case.
– Don’t pull all-nighters. What I did (I had trouble sleeping anyways because of stress) is that I slept at 3 and I got up at 6. You still need sleep somehow. Starting the day early made me more positive and optimistic.
– Work out when you’re stuck. Relax your body by doing yoga; or if you want to release some stress, run or do aerobics. After working out, take a nice shower, I am sure you’re going to feel fresh again and ready to continue writing.
To be honest I am not in a mood to celebrate anything, because … Firstly I am not sure whether the grades will turn out OK. Secondly I immediately have an awful lot to do (again) this week. Thirdly LOL I’ve decided to do a Master’s programme and I will have to deal with long papers again… Well. All in all, I finished my Bachelor’s thesis. I finished it!
I hope the tips I offered in this blog post will make your thesis writing easier. Let me know if you have any questions or comments on this post. Thanks, and have a good day!
—– by Xueyan Xing, third-year student at Leiden University College The Hague