Last week, I handed in my master’s thesis. It was a mix of relief and wonder.
To my surprise, I wasn’t as happy as I thought I would be. That’s pretty bizarre, considering the amount of hours I’ve spent on it.
In this article, I share a behind-the-scenes look at a master’s student’s life.
Let me warn you, though. It’s a pretty crazy story…
Confession #1: You will go mad
You start off OK, with plenty of motivation to visit the library, read books, and take notes. You even follow a schedule, and get some writing done. All is well until…
You bump into the Obstacle. It happens to every author at some point. To me, that Obstacle was the transcriptions.
I had 15 interviews – roughly 14 hours of recordings – to transcribe word for word. I wanted to give up.
This is where the craziness kicks in. For days, I competed in “Transcription Olympics” – a game I had invented to make the work more tolerable. I finished third, after Russian Vosjalnikov and the Spaniard Gonzalez (yes, these characters were in my head).
When you dig into your research, you forget everything else and become slightly mad. But that’s OK because at least you get the job done.
How to deal with the madness: Go for a run. Start meditating. Find a way to channel your madness.
Confession #2: You will doubt yourself
Self-doubt is normal. You will have doubts about your topic, your research, and your skills.
Funny thing is, we forget that others struggle with self-doubt, too. We think we’re the only ones who have it. Of course, this isn’t true. But sometimes, we need to remind ourselves about that.
When I was hard on myself, I liked to watch this video with Adele. Yes, even the master vocalist Adele has her doubts.
How to deal with self-doubt: No one is free from self-doubt, but you can choose to overcome it, just like Adele and the other people you personally admire.
Confession #3: You will put too much pressure on yourself
Here’s an uncomfortable truth: your master’s thesis will take over your life.
It will follow you everywhere, which is why you must take it down a notch. Make sure to schedule downtime, and prepare a work shutdown ritual.
Do yourself a favour: don’t put too much pressure on yourself. “I have to get a straight A” doesn’t help anyone, least of all yourself.
How to deal with the thesis overload: Don’t take yourself so seriously. Be more playful, do other things, and schedule downtime. In short: E.S.E.M.
Blood, sweat, and tears
Despite the madness, self-doubt and high ambition, the finished product will be worth the blood, sweat and tears that brought it to life. Anything worth doing takes hard work.
If you’re interested, you can read my thesis in the 77-page PDF document below. Just remember, it was written by a slightly mad master’s student. You have been warned 😉
Never stop learning
I learned a lot from writing my master’s thesis. Not all lessons are strictly related to cyberbullying, strategic communication or issues management, though. They’re rather lessons for life. Here’s a sample of blog posts:
- 4 Simple Steps to Getting Started
- The Power of Focus
- Self-Talk for Smart People
- Get More Wins and Build Your Confidence
- 10 Personal Growth Goals Worth Pursuing
PS. A huge thanks to my supervisor Marja Åkerström and all my friends and family who supported me through this tough period. I could not have done it without you!