Sunday, December 2, 2012

Thesis Distance: Inner resistance

Mid November I finished the first draft of my thesis, printed it and handed a copy of it to my 2 supervisors. Shortly afterwards, I headed to Pittsburgh for holidays. I intended to take my thesis print with me, and proofread it in the beautiful library of Pittsburgh.

And then, I decided to take a step back.

I decided to take a Real Holiday and not to touch my thesis until returning.

I forced myself to create a distance between what I wrote and myself.

And to be honest, it was very hard. Here, I give you some insights in why I found it difficult to take a break (you'd think I'd be more than happy to relax after such a big effort, no?):

1. Tunnel vision

For many months, I have been planning my writing and have been focused on the thesis and the thesis alone. Finishing the thesis not only became my first priority, but also took over my entire mind. Realizing how much of tunnel vision I am experiencing is already one step towards returning to the world outside of the thesis again.

2. Stress

Admittedly, I am terrified by the idea of not graduating within the 4 years of my program. It creates a certain type of stress that makes me act like a hamster in a wheel: keep running keep running and keep busy to make sure it will all get done in time.

3. Perfectionism

I dislike the opening lines of my first chapter. I've wanted to change them around again recently, but I decided that instead I should ask the opinions of my supervisors. As a perfectionist, I want to keep on editing my text and polishing it and proofreading it. Again, taking a step aside and waiting two weeks to continue working on my thesis, helps me to reflect on which editing is necessary and which comes out of perfectionism.

Have you walked away from your thesis at a certain point in the process? I'd love to hear your stories in the comments below!

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