Five steps to success: how to write a thesis when all you want is a beer in the park (by Michaela Salmon)

While most days I wish I could be driving out to spend the day at a lake, or having picnics in parks and reading novels, I’m actually spending all of the summer working on my thesis. As somebody who has rarely had a full time job, and when I have it has been mostly tied to semester dates (thereby keeping my summers relatively free), this is incredibly difficult for me. Worse still, nobody is actually paying me a living wage to, you know… achieve higher education. Apparently it’s all about the self-motivation. Working on a thesis is rewarding, challenging, mind-opening, lonely, and worthwhile. But it’s not easy.

As a result of my struggles, I have compiled my five top tips for surviving thesis writing during the summer:

  1. Get rid of Facebook

Facebook (and other types of social media, notably Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat) are obviously a time waster. While on the one hand I am finding out useful information (“Watch Nibbles the duck wait for his favourite person after school” and “Top 5 Brunch places for Montrealers on a budget” spring to mind), for the most part, Facebook has only served to remind me that I am taking longer to finish my degree than the rest of my cohort. I congratulate you all and I am happy for you that you have finally got to post your cap and gown picture up online. But it’s not helping.

But just in case you’re curious about Nibbles:

  1. Empty the air out of your bicycle tires, siphon the petrol from your car

Empty-fuel-gauge511Thesis writing means one thing. DON’T LEAVE HOME. Sit chained to your desk and stare at your screen all day, every day. The best way to achieve this is to sabotage your modes of transport. Perhaps even better than emptying the air out of my bike tires would be to simply remove the wheels. Perhaps breaking my legs will become necessary to really keep me house-bound.

  1. IMG_1539
    Any cat-owning takers?

    Swap dogs for cats

The unfortunate caveat to the above is that dogs tend to demand walks and play time and really do love going outside. The simple solution for me here is to find someone who has two cats, and trade in my dogs for some more low-maintenance animals.

  1. Do a rain dance

Nothing worse than working on your methodology section, peeking out the window and seeing a horde of happy people trotting off down to the local swimming pool to hang out in the blazing sunshine. If I’m stuck inside, everyone else should be too. Cue rain dance. Torrential rain for the rest of summer, it’s the obvious solution!

  1. Take advantage of the ghost town (i.e. university)

The best part about the summer holidays is that everyone else is enjoying them and the library (and the whole university in fact) is empty. Finally, the time has come! I can frolic among the stacks and have the whole giant desks to myself! No sharing power outlets, nobody sniffing incessantly next to me, nobody spilling coffee on my notes! My selfishness can run free, unchecked – the library is all mine! Of course, this point comes slightly unstuck if we’ve already followed through with number 2.

Good luck, my fellow students, we can do this!



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