So tomorrow is the day I submit my thesis to my supervisors. Then I’ll get seven days to complete all the other sections (like contents pages, acknowledgements and so on), before I get their comments back, a few days to make those changes and then it all goes to the examiners.
Here’s a couple of thoughts that I’ve had lately about the process.
1. Keep going. There will always be good things and bad things, easy and hard things, and it can seem like there are far too many to handle. But keep going and you’ll get there. Build up your momentum and you can’t be stopped.
2. Don’t forget the rest of your life. Don’t abandon your diet plan, budget, partner, chores, alone time, time with friends, anything like that, in order to work solely on something. Some of these things may have to be less frequent than before for a while, but don’t ever abandon them. You need them. All. Time management is key.
3. You have more time than you think. It’s all about efficiency. Hours in a day aren’t infinite, true, and there are a lot of people who are very very busy people. My parents wonder how I manage to do all the things that I do, with the same amount of time as them. The answer is that I do things that are of value to me, and not the things that are of value to them, or that they do out of habit. Like watch 4 hours of television every night. Don’t get me wrong, I watch TV shows when I want to, and I waste time on the internet or doing many other things. But I also know what things need to be done, and I set daily goals and plan time for time wasting.
4. Have faith in yourself. You can do it. No, really, achieving goals takes a lot of work, but that’s all it is, work. Believing that you can, or that you’re doing well, even if you’re not entirely convinced, will help you have the motivation to continue and achieve.
5. Doubt is normal. This is the most important lesson I have learnt over the past two weeks. I went through (and am still going through) a period of self-doubt about my abilities as a researcher, as a writer, as a linguist and of course about everything else. My supervisors have said that they both went through it, and still go through it frequently. My friends have gone through it.
I’ll sum up with the very helpful words of an author, lecturer, and all round awesome person, Bronwyn Parry “Trust yourself… Uncertainty is actually a good thing when studying data – it means you’re really studying it, not just looking for what you want to see in it. Knowledge advances through questions and doubt and more questions.”
And now I must take my own advice and Keep Going!