Just a few days to go until my Master’s thesis is due. I’m currently holed up in my room like a recluse, glued to my laptop’s monitor, surrounded by piles of articles, books, sheets of paper, large mugs half-filled with coffee and countless empty cans of (sugar-free) energy drinks. Whenever my boyfriend enters my room – he is pretty much the only person I talk to at present – he very kindly does not remark on the complete and utter mess that is my room right now.
When you’re a Master’s student stuck in your bedsit or in the university library, busy performing SPSS analyses and transcribing interviews, or burying yourself in articles so as to be able to hone those last few bits of your thesis to perfection, the chances are you will experience some anxiety. Did I correctly perform my analyses? Did I properly process all the feedback I received? Is my thesis sufficiently in-depth? Will I manage to complete the work in time?
Questions like these may well make you feel insecure. You’ll be wondering what is going to happen and whether everything is going to be OK.
Although you can answer some of these questions yourself – for instance, by working your arse off to attain your goal – the fact that you simply don’t know the eventual outcome will prey on your thoughts, regardless of whether it is your thesis you’re worried about or a job application. Will my thesis be all right? Will I be hired for that new job I’ve applied for? Because I keep tormenting myself with questions such as these, I sometimes forget to enjoy the things I’m doing.
According to the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, it is very easy to be happy, but very difficult to be easy. Bombarding yourself with questions will not help you be ‘easy and happy’. For that reason, my remedy for such questions and niggling worries is to focus on small victories more often – for instance, by celebrating the fact that I just successfully completed another paragraph of my thesis.
Just three more days until my thesis is due. Although I still have a lot of things to do and am secretly longing for my holiday and all the nice things I will be doing, I actually rather like being able to work on my Master’s thesis for just a little longer. There are plenty more small victories to claim. It will all be worth it in the end, even the hours I’m spending like a recluse.
Pooja Guptar is about to complete her Master’s degree in Media and Business