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>> No. 6272 Anonymous
12th July 2017
Wednesday 9:48 pm
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I'm at the end of my postgraduate thesis, at least as far as my available time goes. Last month I agreed with my supervisors that this Friday that I would send over a complete draft for them to go over before a final submission on the 1st September at the latest.

All that has happened since then is I've mostly stared at a nearly blank page for weeks on end because I thought I would redo my literature review but I can't get it all to connect. Nothing is connecting and its horrible because I'm nowhere near a complete draft at this point. In fact I don't think any of my work has gone as planned since at least January apart from a now absolutely shining example of an introduction.

If you have any top-tips for getting writing down and eventually having a thesis together over the coming weeks let me know because I'm pretty spent right now. I don't know if maybe I should have just posted this in emo because it feels like I'm completely fucked but at the same time potentially years of my life are going down the drain which tells me I can't stop.
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>> No. 6273 Anonymous
12th July 2017
Wednesday 9:52 pm
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This might sound a bit facetious in which case I apologise but wouldn't your supervisors be the ideal people to tell this to and ask for help? Some of us may have experience with this sort of thing, but it's a significant part of the job for your supervisors.
>> No. 6274 Anonymous
12th July 2017
Wednesday 11:48 pm
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>>6273
Well yes I agree that I am their problem not yours and we do stay in regular contact.

My reason for this thread is partially just to vent but also because despite all the help and guides I've read I still seem to have hit a wall and it has become a critical issue at this point that I can't seem to get over. I'm wondering if any of you lads have hit a similar thing and what you did to get over it when you faced the issue of having everything together but seemingly are completely unable to put it all on paper.
>> No. 6275 Anonymous
13th July 2017
Thursday 1:02 am
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Well I got into bed and tried to sleep but instead just laid there with the covers over my face quantifying how fucked I am:

I need to write 40,000 words for the 1st September for my MRes submission but have only 16,913 words that is mostly shit that need to be rewritten. Keep in mind that leaves room for maybe two proper meetings to go over my work to make sure it is even suitable for the viva anyway. If I started from scratch today I would need to write 784 words a day and I don't think I can do it. Certainly not with my present level output and not even my plan is completely set together.

What do I do now. My plan for the future revolved around this and I'm now saddled with a punishing debt without a job in line or any idea on how I'm going to put my life together. Everything seems so pointless.
>> No. 6276 Anonymous
13th July 2017
Thursday 9:09 am
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>>6275

Okay, well what I do when I need to write a significant amount is plan it out as best as possible first, so I know near exactly what I'm going to put in each section, then follow that plan from start to finish but I don't try to meet the word count. For your 784 words a day, I'd be happy to have 200 a day. That's really easy, you can do that. You're not starting from scratch, so you can write the second half at that speed and have time left over for the next bit. Then you go back through it and clarify what you mean and expand on it. Rewriting shit is so easy, you just look at what's there and put it in better words, like remembering something embarrassing and it being so obvious what you should have done instead.
>> No. 6277 Anonymous
13th July 2017
Thursday 5:03 pm
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Write in the morning, edit in the afternoon. The morning is strictly write-only - no editing of any kind is allowed, no matter how glaringly wrong something might be. Set yourself an ambitious word count and stick to it every day, even if you're just writing total gibberish.

Decoupling writing and editing is extremely useful if you feel blocked. You're not giving your internal critic permission to operate. You're not aiming for perfection or even quality, just sheer quantity. Honing that down into something useful can wait until later - for the minute you're just filling up the blank page.

If you're really stuck, then a tiny little drinky-poo can oil the gears.
>> No. 6278 Anonymous
13th July 2017
Thursday 10:29 pm
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>>6276
>>6277
Thanks these messages meant a lot today with how I have been feeling. I got some work done today and things where looking up until after dinner when I went to the literature review again and I broke down in tears.

Everything was going reasonably well until Easter when I moved on to the case studies, they were a complete disaster on both counts because they just don't work. I will talk with my supervisors next week but it will just be a meeting to say that I give up. If anyone knows how to cope with this kind of failure let me know because I don't know what to do and certainly I could use some life advice right now.
>> No. 6279 Anonymous
13th July 2017
Thursday 11:26 pm
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>>6278

>If anyone knows how to cope with this kind of failure let me know because I don't know what to do and certainly I could use some life advice right now.

Don't give up unless your supervisors explicitly tell you that things are hopeless. The situation is almost certainly far better than you think, you're just overwhelmed by the scale of the task ahead of you. Postgrads almost always have a massive crisis of confidence at some point, if not several. Everyone I know in academia was at some point convinced that they were doomed to failure.

Marathon runners often hit the wall at about the 20 mile mark, but the vast majority of them find the strength to finish the last six miles, even if they stagger over the line with jelly legs and blurred vision. You're not trying to break any world records, you just need to cross the line.

Have you discussed your concerns about your case studies with your supervisors? What is their opinion? There's probably something useful to be salvaged from them, even if it isn't what you originally intended.

I think that at this stage, there are two reasonable routes to take. If you feel that you're completely stuck and your existing work simply can't be shaped into a satisfactory thesis, you need to get an outside opinion. Speak to a fellow student or a member of faculty, get them to read your existing draft, talk them through the challenges you're facing and see what their take is on the situation. The great Alan Kay once remarked that "a change in perspective is worth 80 IQ points", and rarely have truer words been spoken. A fresh pair of eyes can often give you the insight you need to get unstuck.

If you can see a route forward but you're overwhelmed by the scale of the task, then take a chainsaw to the elephant and turn it into bite-size chunks. Plan out what you need to do each day to meet your deadline, then focus only on each day's work. Forget the deadline, forget the word count, just crack on with whatever you've got planned for today.

Accept that you might miss your deadline or produce a less-than-perfect thesis, but press on anyway. You've got nothing to lose by giving it the full beans now; even if your chances of success aren't great, your chances are zero if you don't do the work.

Be kind to yourself. Presenting a thesis is always scary and you've got a lot of hard work ahead of you. It's OK to be scared and it's OK to feel like you're not going to succeed. Avoiding the thing you fear is a natural response, but it's not a very useful response. You don't have to suppress those feelings, you just need to acknowledge them and do the work anyway. Recognise that it's a horrible experience for practically everyone, but that you're strong enough to get through it. Think of all the shitty experiences in your life that you've survived - this is just another item on that list.

If you haven't already, have a chat with your student support service. They will have heard your story a hundred times before and you'll probably feel better for getting it off your chest.
>> No. 6280 Anonymous
14th July 2017
Friday 12:23 am
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>>6279
Thanks for this again. You're right at this point I have nothing to lose beyond a few months of my life, fuck it all.

Tomorrow morning I will try to dust myself off and get back at it however I can. Maybe I will sort out some rough plan for my work and go over it with my supervisors. I've been told my writing is easily good enough especially as this is just an MRes all I need is to stick to the point and connect the dots. I will give you an update on how it goes.
>> No. 6281 Anonymous
14th July 2017
Friday 5:10 am
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I had a similar problem writing my thesis and I removed the browser shortcuts on my computer. If I needed to look something up on the internet I spent conscious effort for it and then I closed it down. I can't tell how many times I realised my hand went for the now-empty space where the browser icon would've been pointlessly, which in turn would've been another "micro-break" to look at some shitty chan or a news site.
>> No. 6282 Anonymous
14th July 2017
Friday 11:02 pm
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>>6277
This is good advice, I don't write for a living per se, but I do get to write a lot of documents at work and I do a very similar thing. Spend the mornings brain dumping the text out and the afternoon reading and tweaking it.
>> No. 6283 Anonymous
1st September 2017
Friday 12:27 am
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To give you lads an update,

We discovered that the actual deadline for this course was set at 5 not 2 years as the university administration had just copied the MPhil course deadline when they set it up (I'm the first and still only one to do an MRes at this institution). It sounds jack but in fairness the official requirements are also copied from the MPhil but as this has been a cake and arse party from the start not even my supervisors knew until recently.

Still, I have made sure to get that deadline in writing and I certainly won't be doing this in December. I've also spoken about anxiety issues with a doctor to get that box ticked which of course, has gotten better now that I'm not constantly in an "I'm so fucked" situation. So at the moment I am still struggling away but I've had breathing room which has really helped.

The problem is I...er, in a dark moment I prayed to God for help and now I'm in rather awkward situation as an atheist given you could say help arrived in a big way and I don't want to jinx it. Is there some special thing I could do, just in case?
>> No. 6284 Anonymous
1st September 2017
Friday 12:50 am
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>>6283
Make Du'a brother, and thank Allah for his mercy.
>> No. 6285 Anonymous
1st September 2017
Friday 1:15 am
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>>6283
Realise that the act of prayer can be beneficial, as a way of focusing one's mind on your problems, irrespective of whether a god exists to receive it.
>> No. 6286 Anonymous
1st September 2017
Friday 1:43 am
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>>6283
Oh, a coincidence occurred, cast-iron proof that God exists!

Just recognise you acted irrationally out of panic and desperation and pay it no mind.
>> No. 6287 Anonymous
1st September 2017
Friday 1:55 am
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>>6283
>I'm in rather awkward situation

Yes. You have to god at every opportunity at this cast iron evidence of a miracle.
>> No. 6288 Anonymous
1st September 2017
Friday 4:32 pm
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>>6286
Don't listen to this cunt. There is a higher power and every now and again, He will give you a break. Appease Him.

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