A smooth thesis ride

Thesis, a 6-month commitment of patience and perseverance, is the most crucial part of a master student’s life. As blogger Kaavya Raveendran is winding up, she reflects upon the time that went by and shares the secret to what kept her going.
Kaavya Raveendran

Somewhere around 8 months back the real deal started, the struggle to find that one topic that makes you want to fall in love with it. Cause let’s face it, we are not old school lovers anymore and getting ourselves to commit for 6 months was really something. For some, more than the topic, it is the supervisor. Yes, you need to be in love with your supervisor, but in a nerdy way. Cause take it from a person who is near the finish line, your relationship with the supervisor is what’s going to decide whether your ride will be smooth or bumpy.

Once you start, you need to be extra smart about managing your workload. The most important thing to remember here is that you are going to run a marathon and not a sprint. So, take it slow but steady. Plan your work such that you don’t do too much all at once and stress yourself out or do too little and push everything to the deadline. The latter being the reason for many study period extensions!

Second and also equally important is communicating. Be upfront about your doubts, questions, suggestions and most importantly discomfort. Express what you feel, when you speak to your supervisor. This not only helps him or her understand you, it can also avoid a lot of unnecessary misunderstanding. I found it really handy that I asked my supervisor in the beginning as to how she expected me to work, then accordingly I navigated my way through. It’s a win-win really.

The most important part of the evaluation is the big fat report that you submit at the end. Here are some key things to keep in mind. First, raise your own bar. You may have written multiple reports in your student life, but this one is different, you know it. So, try to start with the intention of getting out of your comfort zone. Second, rope in feedback. Trust me, you’ll be getting a lot of those. Supervisors, peers from thesis rings and other people involved will draw your attention to things that you may have missed in the report. So, it will help you achieve ‘the higher bar’ you set. Lastly, please don’t drown in stress. There is a lot of work to do, but there is nothing a good planning cannot resolve, so make sure you keep your brain happy by taking out time for other things in life.

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