Fail Forward Heroes of the Thesis Progress Event
by Martijn van Engelenburg.
The evening of the 9th of April. A gathering took place. It was a gathering of recruits. Starting in their journey to get ready for writing their thesis. It’s a daunting task for most of us, and it is a task filled with struggles. That’s why we gathered in Delft, to share our fears and listen to the heroes who made it out alive. Oh and maybe a few drinks to give us some liquid courage, but mostly for the stories.
Failing forward was the theme of the night and expert heroes about failing forward had gone through the struggle the year before, but they all made it out alive.
Nena: Hero of the now
Currently in the process of finishing the thesis, Nena started the evening with being the hero of writing the thesis now. It has been a long fight, but there is just so much work to be done that the hardest thing is to determine the point when you are done. Once you get into writing the thesis, there is so much literature out there that it becomes like a rabbit hole. Deeper and deeper you go, but time doesn’t stand still. Luckily she is almost at the point of finishing, so her struggle will soon be over.
Teun: Hero of the plan
Proper preparation prevents poor performance. That’s what this speech reminded me of. Of course not without bumps in the road, but it can be said that Teun’s thesis flow was pretty smooth. That’s what he stated as well, see it as a 9 to 5, like a normal job you will get after you’re done. Make sure to start early, and get the work in each and every day. Also don’t forget to do stuff to get your mind off of the thesis when you need to. Find a hobby people.
Graham: Hero of the start
An interesting speech this one, for many reasons. Graham took us through the adventure that was her thesis. Filled with emotions and struggles, but in the end also with a great success. The hardest part, was the start. Graham had plenty of ideas at the start of what she wanted to do, but most of those were not found to be matching with ideas of potential supervisors. That’s the lesson from this hero is to find a supervisor first, and then the topic will follow from that expertise. During the studies you will meet plenty of teachers, and there will be some that are more interesting to you than others. Keep track of the interesting ones, and ask them early if they want to supervise you. Your thesis likely won’t be your career, so don’t worry too much on what you do, just do.
Tom: Hero of the rush
Like a proper Leeroy Jenkins, Tom wanted to be done with it. Three months he said for himself, and at the start it looked like it would be three months, but as is thesis life when things go smoothly there will probably be something coming in your way. And as Tom put in many hours, and lots of energy it kind off burns you out on the topic. Motivation will drop, and along with it the energy to work on it. So see it as marathon, not a sprint. Ride the wave of motivation when you have it, but don’t force it.
I hope to join these heroes in the hall of graduates soon with these lessons!