Things I learnt from writing a thesis

A close up of academic books on a shelf.

Writing a thesis is a gruelling, intensive task. But I have learnt so much from it.

Handing in my thesis recently, it took me some time to get over the exhaustion. In the final weeks, I was spending 10 hours day in the library, cramped in a seat, typing furiously away. It was tough for my mental health...and even physically, I learnt, when my fingers began to ache so much that sending a text would prove difficult. Even disregarding the content itself, and how much I enjoyed learning and theorising about my academic passion, I have learnt lots about myself through doing a thesis. 

  • Studying or writing for long periods of time is incredibly exhausting, so regular breaks are important. 
  • Eating well is important. I had days where I would barely eat, and then treat myself with a small snack from the vending machine. This was a very bad idea that I would never recommend. The days where I brought in lunch, or would go home to a cooked meal, were the most productive. 
  • Working on a thesis is a solitary project. As obvious as it may sound, spending time alone, with only your own brain, is lonely. I spent the two weekends before my thesis was due in the library, and limited any social plans. This really took a toll on me, and made me appreciate seeing my friends after so much more. 
  • Blocking apps is actually so helpful for my productivity! I used an app blocker and limited notifications and messages that came through my phone. Social media has never really made me happy, so I have actually been implementing the app block post-thesis, making sure that the first hours of the day I cannot be scrolling mindlessly. 
  • If you look at something for so long, you are never going to be happy with it. I finally re-read my thesis the other day, and found that I was much happier with it after that space.
  • An intimidating project of this scale is possible, if you put your mind to it! I definitely had moments where I felt this was a mistake, and that I would never have got it done. I am so happy that I can say that I have completed a thesis!
Tagged in What messes with your head