How to Finish Your Thesis and Earn that Degree

Career Management

Pixabay free image of a woman behind booksHave you pursued a degree beyond your bachelor’s, and you’re struggling to know when and how to write your thesis or report?

It’s the final stop on the journey to earn the degree, so why is it so hard for so many of us to just get the thing done? Maybe it’s the pressures of working a new job after completing school, or a big move across the country, or just suffering from burnout, but many people struggle to know how to break up the writing, editing, and submitting process into manageable pieces.

Manageability

No matter how unpleasant, it’s best to start writing at least some of the thesis right away. My professor/committee chairperson told me to write just 15 minutes every day. That amount of time may seem pointless (it did to me at first), but it’s not.

  1. By constantly touching the work, you’ll keep yourself motivated and seeing some progress.
  2. By only committing to a small amount of time and effort daily, the entire process is easier for you to break into manageable chunks instead of a dreaded 40-60 pages of pounding away at the keys all at once.
  3. Often, once you’re into it, you’ll actually spend more like 30-45 minutes working on a section, but it still won’t feel like a daunting effort.
  4. Small amounts of work keep you connected to it, so you may get ideas for how to improve it while you’re working on something else.

Editing

Resist the urge to edit a lot as you first write. Even successful authors know they need a little distance from the work before they dive back in. Another interesting tip I received was to print out all pages you currently have written, cut it up into paragraphs or some sort of shorter chunks of content, and then rearrange it into a new order. Sometimes, you’ll catch that the order of information is flowing well, but when it’s all structured into the same document on a screen, you don’t catch what’s wrong. Seeing it in different pieces makes them feel more movable, and then you might catch where content is in the wrong order, missing, or nonsensical.

  1. It’s better to get your ideas out first, and worry about how the sentences and paragraphs flow or if the meaning is what you intended.
  2. If you edit too quickly, you might catch areas where you think it sucks and revise too much away. Or you might think it’s totally fine and overlook errors.

Submission and Feedback

Don’t feel like they’re telling you your baby is ugly. You are bound to get some feedback and requests to revise. But hey, if it helps you get done, it’s best to just follow their advice, plus it will get you a better piece of content in the end.

  1. Ask reviewers to focus on specific areas where you’ve had challenges. This approach shows that you’re paying attention and trying to improve.
  2. When you’re comfortable with certain sections, you can even send shorter parts for them to review so that it doesn’t have to be done all at once.

Finishing your degree by submitting an approved thesis is the final step for you to be able to start putting your higher education degree on your resume and claiming that knowledge on-the-job. A little bit of effort goes a long way over time, so start right away and make sure you finish it!