A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
I did it … three busy, exciting and enjoyable years of my Bachelor “International Studies” are over, and now I am very much looking forward to my Graduation on August 26, 2016, in Leiden.
In retrospect, I can say that I have gained many new insights through my studies. I am now able to speak – at least a tiny bit of – Chinese, I have met new friends from all over the world and also gained an idea of what could come next after my studies. For now, that is the subsequent Masters Program of “International Studies”, with a specialisation in Global Security.
Particularly exhausting was the final phase of my studies, which peaked in the writing of my BA-Thesis. There have certainly been days on which I thought that I might never be able to finish this paper… but the great support from my supervisor helped me a lot. Also, a few parcels that I have received from home, with motivational sweets and chocolates, as well as conversations with friends and family were very important, and of course a well-structured plan, including enough time as a buffer, before the actual deadline.
I finished my work on the thesis already about one week before it was due, yet I still had to tweak it here and there until one day before the final deadline.
During those weeks of working on my thesis, I have learned a lot of does and don’ts… Here a few words of advice for upcoming final papers: Always, always save your work and, especially important… make sure to send your work via email, to yourself, or to upload it to a cloud, so that if something were to happen to your laptop, you would not lose all your work – I could tell a few horror stories about such scenarios.
Important is also to have someone proofread your essay, to check your cited sources, match your quotes with the sources in the bibliography – one the very last day, I realised that I was missing a few sources that I mentioned in the text.
Even small details such as reading and formatting footnotes, making sure that headlines in the text and the table of contents are matching, that page numbers are correct, and the word count is still right after changes made in the text, cost a lot of time.
For in between, it is vital to schedule breaks, to go on walks, eat and ice cream or just don’t do anything at all – the main point is not to think of your work and to get your head free… even when you think that you don’t have time to take a break!
The final weeks of the 6th semester were quite tough. There were many moments in which I felt like I am not able to write one more word and where I doubted the entire point and argument of my thesis. Yet in the end it was worth it – the happiness I felt when I was finally printing out my finished thesis was indescribable. And the first few days after felt almost unreal… suddenly I was free all day and could do whatever I wanted. It took a while to get used to being on holiday.
After that, the time of waiting began, in which I asked myself if everything would work out, which grade I would receive and whether my work was enough to pass. After four weeks I finally received the email with my grade, and I was super happy. I had completed my Bachelor, which would open me the way to the next step – my Masters.