I have well and truly sucked at this whole blogging thing, but in my defense, the final year of my psychology undergraduate is taking up all the brain power I have left (which is very little!)
I will now take you through the thoughtful process of thesis writing!!
1. “It’s great that I have a topic that I am really interested in, this is what I came to university for”
This is the blissfully ignorant stage, where you find your ‘passion’ and get to spend 9 months of your life learning everything there is to know about the field that has ignited your love for learning… I would refer to this as the honeymoon stage, because realistically, it is all down hill from here on out!
2. “Everything is going wrong, is this what research looks like? How did I ever think this was a good idea!?
This is the stage when you realise your passion doesn’t equal paradise, in fact it closely resembles one of those recurring nightmares you used to have as a child… apart from you’re awake and it’s real … REALLY REAL. However, you’re still keeping your cool in the lovely little bubble of denial so all is okay(ish).
3. “I have a month left and I still don’t have even half of my participants, what the hell am I going to do!?”
It isn’t until March hits that you begin to panic… you have until now at least, been aware of the computers breaking and the cancellations of participants, but somehow that flip of the calendar brings everything crashing into reality! You have nowhere near enough data to reach power and there are no people or time left to rectify the situation.
4. “There is no literature to support what I am saying! It actually doesn’t exist!”
This is when shit really starts to hit the fan…. after hours of trawling through journal articles to support a comment you have made in your literature review, you begin to realise maybe said evidence doesn’t exist! Cue, complete new structure of literature review and less words than you had 5 months ago.
5. “NOTHING IS SIGNIFICANT”
If entering the world of statistics wasn’t painful enough, there is nothing more soul destroying than finding no significance in anything you have found. You are explaining correlations that are non existent and stating p values that aren’t even worth reporting…. oh and if you do find something vaguely significant, it will contradict the very little literature you have collected.
6. “I’m not happy, I am going to rewrite it again – Dissertation Draft 25”
I don’t think I have ever re written anything more in my life, so much so I could recite the damn thing in my sleep. I say rewriting, most of the time it is copy and pasting the same thing into a new word document.
7. “I’m so excited to put it all together!”
The sheer excitement at the prospect of seeing all your hard work in one document is one of the most satisfying feelings, you know the end is in sight and your about to see just how many thousands of words you have written – be proud!
8 “I HATE WORD, WHY WON’T THAT GRAPH GO THERE!?”
The excitement is short lived, when you realise that as you assemble all your hard typed work, Microsoft has a mental breakdown and decides to throw the graph you put on page 39 onto page 2…. shortly followed by your own mental breakdown as you spend hours dragging graphs and headings to where they were originally placed 5 hours ago.
9 “Be brutal!”
You finally get all the formatting sorted, and it is in a state where it can be distributed to some fresh pair of eyes. The best/worst thing you could tell someone who is proof reading your dissertation is to be brutal …. pride dented and red pen run out, you feel pretty crap about your efforts and start to rethink your intelligence and how you ever got to university in the first place.
10 “It’s taking me as long to edit as it has to write it!”
You then have the pain staking task of trawling through adding commas, deleting full stops, changing phrases… all to keep the grammar police off your back for that final proof read.
11. “NOW MY GRAPHS HAVE MOVED AGAIN”
After feeling pretty accomplishec after making all your amendments, you realise your beautifully formatted pages have now moved AGAIN…. this point is where the laptop nearly makes a bid for freedom out of the window!
12. “YES! PDF COME AT ME”
Your worries about formatting are one of distant memories, as the PDF is firmly stuck and ready for binding!! You’ve made it!
13. “OH NO A SPELLING MISTAKE”
Just as you think the hell is over, you notice you’ve missed that a out of appendix… but my PDF is uneditable! As you traipse back to your word document, praying the one letter doesn’t throw your formatting off, you hold your breath as it saves for the last time
14. “I’M HERE, I AM ACTUALLY HERE”
This is your thought process at the binders, you’ve made it with everything on a memory stick ready to be bound into a document you’ve never been happier to get rid of your life!
15 “HOW MUCH!?”
” £20!!! I pay £9,000 a year…. why is this costing me, have I not been put through enough pain, without piling onto my overdraft!
16 “Look how beautiful it is!”
You have never been proud enough of anything more in your life! Blood, sweat and tears have gone into this (literally!) and after stroking the laminated cover several times, you realise that your degree is nearly over!
17. “I DON’T WANT TO LEAVE”
You realise this momentous occasion, also marks the penultimate hurdle of your university career, and you have soon got to go out into the real world, where eating out of saucepans is a thing of the past and disney marathons become a once loved memory
So there we have it… the emotional roller coaster that is thesis writing, the rollercoaster that you can’t wait to get off, until you find yourself begging to stay on!
Bring on those final exams!