A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
In my program (International Studies), we are supposed to write our bachelor thesis in the last semester of our third year. However, your thesis is also the only element you can move around in the program: you can choose to write it in the first semester of your last year instead. And this is what I did because I wanted less pressure during my last semester and I wanted to be able to take extra courses to prepare for a Master’s. So, last semester I actually did a six-months internship and also wrote my thesis! I was very busy but I am now so happy and relieved that I achieved to complete one major component of my program. I now get to see all of my friends doing it so I can give them some tips and share with them my experience. This post is for all the students out there who need to write their thesis; I know what you are going through!
How to find your topic?
A very good tip is to write down in one column some things you have learned about in your program and that you have enjoyed, and in another column write some things you are very interested in but know little about. See if there are any elements that match and if there are, you have your topic! I, for example, combined the dependency theory, I learned about in my Latin American Politics course, and environmental degradation in Colombia, as I am passionate about environmental issues.
Stop reading! Start writing!
Once you have a topic, you start doing some research, you start writing a literature review, and then you do more research, you finalize your literature review, you do more research, you start planning your thesis, you do more research, you read, you read, you read; at some point, you’re going to have to stop reading! This is my advice to you! There is so much literature on your topic so obviously you could read indefinitely but you should really learn to limit yourself and start writing. This is very hard to do I know, but otherwise you won’t have enough time to actually write your thesis.
Manage your time well
Your semester is going to go very fast and you are going to be very busy with a tons of different things but don’t forget, you have a thesis to write and that is not going to happen in one week. Manage your time so you work on it on a regular basis. Think about it, if you worked on it two hours everyday, you wouldn’t need to put in so many extra hours right before the deadline and you would avoid all the stress that goes with it.
Leave a comment to share your own tips and experience! 😉