A thesis is a thesis, it doesn’t change. What changes is just the way I happen to think about it.

The way I think about my ability to write my thesis is dichotomous, similar to the way I think about the significance of my research. On good days, I’m upbeat and and hopeful that examiners will be interested in my research and agree that it could, one day, be useful in the real world. On bad days I lose hope and find it hard to conceive of the smallest chance that anyone would take my work seriously. In the same way, there are days when I feel like I can take on the hugest writing task without a struggle, and other days when composing a single sentence is the most impossible thing in the universe.

So how do I feel today?

Today I feel thankful that other people like me take notice of these posts and take time to like them or even leave a comment. I haven’t acknowledged that before but I’d like to today, because today I also feel hopeful. Because maybe, if I can figure out how, I can, actually, write my thesis and submit in May.

This God forsaken thesis!

Yes, we’ve come to the point where the thesis itself has become a God forsaken entity in my mind. I’m trying my very best to hold the thought that it was all worth it:

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What I’m still worried about today is the fact that hope alone isn’t enough to write a thesis. Along with hope, there’s also another essential factor – hard work. I’m generally a hard worker (no, really) and get a lot done when I know what I want to do, but when I’m confused about how to go about doing something, I spend a lot of time walking around doing less important tasks, procrastinating, and publishing angst-ridden blog posts. Ahem.

A lot of the hope I have today I’ve derived from remembering the good things I’ve achieved so far in my PhD journey. For example, I have:

  • Been to several European and International conferences and presented my papers
  • Published two peer-reviewed papers, one of which is derived from my own PhD
  • A third manuscript under review
  • Served as a board member on three university committees
  • Lectured and tutored widely on psychology modules
  • Received various bursaries, grants, and scholarships
  • Devoured a list of professional training activities

Having said that, there are undoubtedly others like me who have accomplished far better during their own PhD journeys, and I think that’s something we should all applaud. I guess when finishing the journey seems impossible, it helps to look back and acknowledge the good things we’ve achieved, and remember that having achieved them we can continue our journey and achieve even better things.

So where does the hard work come from?

Well, despite having worked hard until now, I really don’t know. I guess we’re motivated to work hard when we believe in ourselves and in what we’re doing and when we feel confident that it’s in our hands, and our hands alone, to produce a great piece of work. We work hard when we anticipate that huge sense of contentment when the work is finished and receiving well-deserved praise from whatever commentators are examining it.

Today I have hope for my thesis but I’m still unsure of what to do. I was hoping writing this post might help, and maybe it has. But I’m still unsure how.

If you’re reading this post and feel any sense of similarity, have hope! We’ll get through this together. Some day, years down the line we’ll look back on these days and think, “You know all that research? It was actually not that bad.” 

Potentially.

Theoretically.

Pending further research.

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