So, the other day I submitted my final year thesis. I can’t believe that I can say that now it feels so weird.
The past year it has been the only thing on my mind. Even though there is so much happening at the same time such as work, seperate course work and my social life it was definitely the focus of everything I was doing. When the time comes you will all know what I mean, everything is knocked up a gear and your university experience changes completely.
As a commuting student I rarely spent any time in the library, if at all. Most of my time was sat at home on a comfy red chair surrounded by sheets of paper, books and cups of tea with a laptop perched on my knees. I don’t think I wore anything other than joggers and I definitely had no time for makeup. Anyone who dare enter the room I was studying in would often be shocked by my tired yet frazzled appearance, offering support, refreshments and at times, some form of human interaction which I would often go days without. This was very much the case as the deadline grew closer as you are usually scavenging for last minute details you may have missed, along with proof reading over and over until you can’t proof read anymore!
At the start of the year you are given lectures to prep you for your research proposal to your thesis. This gives you a head start to your thesis, allowing you to build references and a structure to what you will include in the main report. Half the year knew exactly what they wanted to do as their topic straight away and the other half didn’t. I was the latter. There is a fine line between choosing to do a topic you think will get you a good mark and choosing something that you are interested in and enjoy.
Choosing something you are interested in will obviously be fun and your research process will be enjoyable and further your knowledge on that subject. However, choosing something you haven’t explored before would also be an interesting decision considering that you are researching a new area altogether. For my thesis I chose to research a topic I was fully immersed in and have been since I was young. My thesis explored the influence of beauty vloggers on consumers purchase decisions. I understood that this would be a very popular topic considering how popular beauty vloggers have become, however, I knew that if I had chosen another topic I wouldn’t have had as much interest and passion for it as I did with this one. A lot of my friends decided to base their research on topics they enjoyed such as music and the superfoods industry. Choosing the topic is so important because you don’t want to be stuck half way through your research realising that you wished you had chosen something different, so think it through!
It truly takes a lot of motivation to start such a huge project, especially in such a short period of time. You’re nervous and don’t even know where to begin most of the time. Believe me when I say this, start early! It really does make a difference. It is important to get in touch with your supervisor if you need help, they will offer the best advice they can to help you move forward.
I’m the world’s greatest procrastinator and won’t hesitate to find something to distract me, even if it is just staring into space. I am usually motivated by pressure (not stress), which sounds bad but it can really spur you on. It was encouraging that every month you submitted a section before a deadline. This really helped to break up the thesis so that you didn’t leave it until last minute, leaving you with a whole thesis to write in a matter of weeks. By submitting the work to your supervisor, you received feedback on your sections, which is helpful in guiding your work to where it needs to be.
As mentioned before for me, my thesis was always at the back of my mind, which meant it became a priority. However, I still managed to keep up with work (mostly) and take a little time for myself too. If you acknowledge how much work you must do, figure out how much you need to do within the week and slot it in your diary around your job but also make some time for yourself to see friends and family. Managing your time in 4th year is so important as it will elevate stress and allow you to work on a schedule while also allowing you a little me time without the guilt.
You will, of course, have other coursework to go along with your thesis, this shouldn’t suffer just because you feel like the thesis is all consuming. It is just as important and needs your full attention in 4th year. It may feel impossible to do all this at once, but you get through it.
I can’t lie, the last month has been very nerve wraking, most people will feel this, it’s like a mix of excitement to get it done and the terror of handing it in. I had a lot of late nights studying, and I practically spoke to nobody apart from course mates who knew what I was going through. I hadn’t moved from my red chair and I was drowning in cups of tea. I also didn’t leave my house for a week before hand in. It seems miserable but you’re just so focused you don’t notice.
The night before hand in felt like a blur, I couldn’t sleep that night as I was both nervous and excited to submit. The day of the deadline I headed for the RGU library to print off and bind my thesis. This was a lot easier than expected and didn’t take long at all. There are alternatives to get your thesis bound I heard a lot of people went to Staples to get theirs done. The Gatehouse at RGU also bind your thesis for you if you put your order in early enough.
I then met my friends in the library, we were all bursting with excitement! We took some pictures to commemorate the day and headed to the class room to hand it in. Nothing will ever beat the feeling of holding your completed thesis in your hands. All the late nights and stress completely felt worth it as I handed over my dissertation.
The time called for a celebration and we certainly did.
Coming home I looked at my study space thinking about how I really need to get back to my thesis before remembering I had submitted it! I chuckled then realised, ‘wait I still have three exams left’. I won’t lie I have taken a little break from studying but I will be back to the grind this week.
Next week is my last week of lectures and I am feeling a bit nostalgic. I can’t believe I am almost at the end of my university career, it feels like just yesterday I was applying to the course. Your final year is important and so is your thesis, but still find time to enjoy it as you only have one chance to experience fourth year.
Well done to everyone who submitted their thesis and good luck in your final exams!
Until next time,