Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone

I'm currently trying to finish an essay and my honours thesis. I have about 3 weeks before they are due.

I'm actually doing really well: I've written all of the thesis (but I still have to edit it and stick all my references in, and so forth) and 2700/6000 of the essay. But I still feel terrible.

Every time I even open the files on my computer I feel so stressed and upset I can barely work.

How do I get up the motivation to keep going even though Im anxious?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi everyone

I'm currently trying to finish an essay and my honours thesis. I have about 3 weeks before they are due.

I'm actually doing really well: I've written all of the thesis (but I still have to edit it and stick all my references in, and so forth) and 2700/6000 of the essay. But I still feel terrible.

Every time I even open the files on my computer I feel so stressed and upset I can barely work.

How do I get up the motivation to keep going even though Im anxious?

Maybe it would help to look up some of the methods writers use to get through "writer's block."

I think one of the usual suggestions is to set a block of time each day to work on it, whether you get anything done or not. From personal experience: "First thing in the morning" will NOT work.

Another, specific to reports, would be go back to your outline and make a list of small tasks to do

for each section:

- Find one reference for each paragraph in my introduction.

- Trim abstract back to 3 sentences.

- Find nicer way to say 'Heidegger is a poopy-head'

etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

if what you're mainly trying to do is finish your references, here's what i used to do-

take each book/article/reference you have and scan through your thesis to see each time you referred to that work, and then make sure the work is cited in each instance.

take book A. you cited this book 5 times in your paper. just go through and write it in each time.

for me anyway, that makes writing references easier.

and for the essay, which seems to be a bigger hurdle-

do you have to write the essay as an article describing the thesis, or is the essay a different work entirely? if it is based on the paper then you're in luck, because all you have to do is go through and highlight major points and transitions in your thesis, and write an article out of them, which you should be able to do in an hour or so if you get on a roll with going through the thesis. it would be fresh in your mind then.

i don't know what other kind of article you would have to be writing that is somehow attached with your thesis. i'm going on the assumption, as i said, that the article is an article made from or based on the thesis. those are the easiest when you just go through and use the good old-fashioned highlighter. make a hard copy of it and highlight away.

another idea- if you just can't get yourself to write at the computer, maybe you can away from it. i used to take my notebook outside sometimes and sit in the library garden and write outlines and start my papers that way. it feels so official, or like work doing it on the computer. you know you're getting graded on it, so that's what makes it "work". a notebook out in the garden, on the other hand, is just your own thoughts. how many famous works began as just journal or notebook entries?

best of luck! it sounds like you're almost done with school, based on what you said about doing your thesis now. congrats! i hope you manage to get a job in your field and get off to a running start. the job market has been improving but still sucks in many sectors, and many college grads are still without jobs, at least in my area.

personally, i was unable to find work in my major, economics, and had to get into IT. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I outlined. I outlined like a motherfucker. My outlines were usually half as long as whatever I was writing. So a ten page paper, before I sat down to actually write it, had a five page (handwritten on notebook paper, though) outline. The outlines were still kind of rough- phrases and jotted notes to remind me what I was talking about- and the papers usually ended up deviating from the outline at least a little, but I wrote papers faster than anyone I know (With an outline, I could pound out a 10 page paper in an evening- 3 or 4 hours, absolute max) because I was very familiar with what kinds of things I wanted to say before I sat down at the computer to say them.

The outline usually went through a couple of drafts- maybe the brainstorming draft (which is less than a page, jotted down maybe what my arguments could be centered around or good quotes from the text etc etc), the rough outline draft, and then a final outline draft. This sounds like a lot of work, but it's really not that bad and it's a lot easier than just sitting down and writing beautiful, coherent, argumentative prose on the first shot. It means you go over your arguments/quotes/etc a couple of times before you have to write, so you understand what you're saying better. There's less pressure on an outline- if what you first think is "quote that dumbass Hamlet soliloquy" you can write exact that and then iron it out once you get to the computer. I think it helped me think about what to write easier- I could write myself questions and then kind of answer them and there wasn't any pressure because nobody was going to see these papers except me. And then by the time I got to the place where that pressure did exist (the computer screen) I already have all this backup thought and text and prompting to help me. It really, really cut down on my page fright- that feeling you get where you just can't even open Word right then- because I was never coming unarmed.

I guess it would help to know if there's something in particular you're anxious about. The quality of the writing? Your argument? Have you just worked yourself up about it enough that thinking about it just goes into meltdown mode and you maybe just need to give yourself a day where you DON'T TOUCH IT or worry about it and try to relax and come at it with a fresh brain? I used to have a lot of paper-writing crap- I sound like I had it under control, mostly, in this post, but that's a joke. I was usually doing final edits and printing the paper within an hour of the due date. There are many kinds of paper anxieties, is what I'm trying to say, I guess.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let someone read through it and just "talk" about it but while you're doing it have a notepad or your recorder handy. That way you're actively working on it by double checking your work but also getting an opinion so you can head off anything you might not have thought of about when it comes time to present to the panel.

lilie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a comprehensive exam at the end rather than a thesis, so I can't

speak to any specifics for thesis writing, but whenever I have a major project that I can't seem to get started at I mainly just think about how good it will feel to have it finished, or if it's something that is too elaborate to complete in one sitting I think of how good it would feel after I've worked for a while on it and can relax and be satisifed that at least on this day I accomplished what I needed to.

I dread the idea of the exam at the end, but after hearing numerous people in other departments talk about the suffering they've gone through writing a thesis I'm glad that's all we have to do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tend to just start writing, in much the same way Becca recommends outlining. Write two crap essays, both interspersed with comments like "WTF is M going on about?" and "Research 1700-1750 - reli/pol atmo? Luminaries." Find the answers to the questions I've asked. Write those out. Reassemble all the pieces like a jigsaw puzzle, discarding those that don't fit. I just have to WRITE, regardless of how painful it might be. Write write write.

And don't forget to sleep. Dream-typing is funny to read later, but it won't get you much closer to your goal of a finished product.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm. I did that oversleeping thing during the summer when I was trying to finish my work for a couple of courses on medical extension. It turned out I was trying to work through hypothyroidism on top of depression. Synthroid helped, and Wellbutrin. And routine. I got the most work done during the three weeks when I'd go to the library to work instead of staying at home. The change of scenery eventually signalled to my brain that NOW is the time to work. I need to reestablish that during this semester.

In light of your signature, I'd like to ask: who is the equal and opposite philosopher to Plato and Socrates? I helped a student with a paper on Socrates today, so I'm curious.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been tested for hypothyroidism fairly recently, so I know its not that. I think its just the Zyprexa messing with me so I am trying taking it in the morning instead of at night. I might try going to the library: I have done that before and it is quite effective.

I'm not sure who is the equal and opposite philosopher to Socrates, but Plato and Aristotle disagreed on quite a lot. I'm not great at Ancient Greek philosophy so I'm not sure. The point of the quote is really that for anything one philosopher says, there is some other philosopher that will argue the complete opposite. Which when I was studying philosophy last year was definitely true.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...