Writing a thesis (Part 1) - Hardships (and some advice)

In your path of becoming a psychologist, writing a thesis is often an unavoidable part of it, be it as a  thesis in your 4th year (or Honours) curriculum, or in your Masters program, or when you do it for your Phd. There will always be a thesis that you have to write somewhere in your path towards being a psychologist.

Since this is the first post of this series, I decided to start on the hardships first, which then I might later discuss about other stuff like pleasures, benefits, etc. During the process of writing a thesis, this might be one of your toughest times in your studying life. You may find yourself in a situation that you never expect to be in.
Disclaimer: This is from my own experiences and from my friends who studied psychology, and hence may be different from yours or someone else's. Any similarities is purely coincidental.

Hardships:
1) Lack of sleep - sleep often no longer becomes an option, especially when you have a certain deadline to meet. Some people can go on with their daily routines with little sleep (like 4 hours), but some do need their beauty sleep. Make sure you know your sleep routines, and at least have some sleep, instead of none at all.

2) Lack of food - I am bringing this up because I got a friend who could go without food, or rather got so engrossed with work that she forgot to eat. This resulted in a trip to the hospital. My advice: If you are like that, make sure you at least have some sugar in you (mints, sweets, whatever); at least it can help sustain you for a while more till you remember to eat again. But I believe being in Singapore, food is always around the corner.

3) Lack of social interaction - This is the advice I got on my first day of orientation of my Honours: "Tell your boyfriends/girlfriends/husbands/wives/parents/brothers/sisters/friends that you do not have time for them this year". It was true. You need the time for yourself to do your work for your thesis, on top of other coursework that needed to be done at the same time. So one major advice: Do good time management.

4) Lots of reading (and printing papers) - For those who do not like reading (like me), you will have to read a lot, as you will need to write a literature review section that discusses about almost everything that you are going to research on. So your supervisor will make sure that you know everything about that topic. And of course, with reading, you will print a lot of journal articles, otherwise you will have to read them from your laptop.

5) Lots of statistics - For those doing quantitative research, good luck to you. Stats is often a love/hate topic of many students; you either love it or hate it. But with quantitative research, stats is definitely required (unless you decide to do a qualitative research).

6) Possible mental breakdowns - With all the above, don't you think any one doing a thesis will get a mental breakdown? I am not talking about major depression or whatever in the DSM, but rather a build-up of stress as you do the thesis. So make sure you cut yourself some slack and ignore all the work once in a while, go relax and enjoy your time outside the thesis writing, and come back refreshed and mentally prepared to start writing the next chapter!

7) Any others you might have?? Discuss in the comments below...

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