A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
One of the best decisions I’ve made in my university life was to write my thesis in the first semester. There were several reasons for this:
So if you will be writing your thesis in the upcoming year(s) I highly recommend the first semester. But do not worry if you are a third year, writing your thesis right now, in the second semester! I’ve got the motivation you need and will pass it on!
You managed to make it through five semesters; you can make it through one more!
Yes? Great! No? Don’t worry. Even if you have a topic or you do but you are not that happy about it, it will be fine. Because whatever topic you have, it is oh-so-very likely to change (once or several times!) but do not stress over it! I am not saying it will be super easy to adjust your topic as you go but it is a natural process which is likely to happen. I don’t know how many times I changed my topic over the course of writing my thesis…
All the topic changes I made were in fact adjustments attempted at narrowing down my topic. I was constantly on a quest to narrowing it down and trying to find a way to fit everything into 10.000 words. But this is exactly why you shouldn’t worry even if your initial topic is too broad, as long as you are aware of this problem, you can make adjustments in order to make it work.
I remember being at home working on my draft for days and when the date of submission arrived I had 30 pages of notes but no actual draft. I remember having a nervous breakdown or a not-so-fun experience let’s say. Shortly after this we had our individual meetings with our supervisors; I had to start all over again and yet I managed to get back on track! Nothing is impossible.
My flat mate was also writing his thesis at the time and we made sure that we were both getting work done and rewarding ourselves together after deadlines, submissions and presentations. It was encouraging. When I had that not-so-nice night of the draft submission, my boyfriend showed up at my door, to cheer me up and just to be there with me for support. These are the interactions I value the most; people who believe in you and people who help you. Also during our thesis seminars I was lucky to be with a group of people who were willingly giving suggestions and feedback to each other which made us all stronger. You could also ask friends and family to take a look at your drafts, research as well as the final version for a review.
For example I was drowned in European Commission Progress Reports (which happen to be very dry and repetitive by the way) while my flat mate was literally dancing and singing while working on his thesis. (Yes, that can be very annoying!) Some people will enjoy their thesis to levels you would think are not possible, maybe you are one of those people, maybe not but that’s okay. Remember that every experience is different. You will make it. (How am I so sure? Well, if I was able to write my thesis in a week, you can write yours in the upcoming months!)