The 5 Stages of Writing a Thesis

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For anyone writing his or her thesis, the process is finally coming to a close this month. The process wasn’t easy, and you were sure to experience emotions ranging on all ends of the spectrum. Here are the 5 stages of writing a thesis to give you a little laugh before the big day.

1. Thinking of a topic and picking an advisor

This is one of the most important steps. You have to choose a topic that you will be able to write about for the next year. You have to love it and be passionate about it. Picking an advisor is stressful, especially if you haven’t fine-tuned your topic since the advisor should specialize in what you are writing about.

Choose an advisor that you think you will work well with and that you see yourself succeeding with. It’s also better to do this sooner rather than later — we’re talking junior year — because this gives you time to discuss goals and timelines with your advisor.

2. Beginning to write

Beginning to write is the most daunting stage. You’ll feel that you don’t even know how to begin a 50-page paper, but don’t think of it like this. Instead, think about the thesis as incremental steps. Sometimes it’s harder to write when you’re looking at the big picture and calculating how many pages you need, or how much else you have to talk about.

Just take it paragraph-by-paragraph, page-by-page and chapter-by-chapter. The good thing is that it doesn’t have to make sense in the beginning since your argument may not be completely honed – this is OK. You and your advisor will work through the mess later on.

3. Procrastinating

What would writing a thesis be without a little procrastination? This is an inevitable stage, but you have to work through it in order to stay on top of deadlines. Often procrastination comes when you’re not sure of the next step in writing, get stuck or suffer from writer’s block. Your advisor is there to help. If you feel procrastination looming, you probably have a question or concern that your advisor can answer.

4. Turning down plans

When you get towards the end, this is unfortunately something that will need to happen. It’s not fun and you’ll be frustrated with your thesis, but just think about how many plans you’ll be able to make up after you turn it all in. You’re sure to have an amazing last couple of weeks before graduation.

5. Finishing

You see the home stretch! This stage consists of perfecting the thesis: fixing minor mistakes, adding the bibliography, organizing your thesis in the template and binding it. Now you’re just waiting to hit that gong!

Although thesis writing was long, tiring and just plain annoying at times, the payback will be great. You’ll have a piece of work that you can be proud of for the rest of your life.