My So-Called Honors Thesis: Take a Bow

IMG_1134It’s been about two weeks now since I finished my thesis and turned it in, but I still don’t feel like it’s done. I worked on it for over a year—of course there’s still that nagging feeling that I have something I’m supposed to be doing, something I’m supposed to finish. And the end of that project is coupled with the end of my undergraduate career. I’m almost uneasy; I don’t know what to do with myself. I suppose the feeling of accomplishment comes later.

But this blog post isn’t about what happens next. It’s about patting ourselves on the back for what we’ve accomplished, and, since hindsight is 20/20, I can work in a few final tips for future honors thesis writers, too.

Like I’ve said in past posts, work on the project a little every day. Don’t let it go stale in your brain, because once it does, it’s incredibly difficult to get started again. I’d also advise keeping a works cited as you go, adding sources as you find them, so that at the very end you don’t have to track down everything at once.

Get as much done before spring semester as you can. Yes, it’s an entire semester of time, but it’s also a semester full of other final papers and projects that really add up when you’ve also got the thesis to write. Plus, you’ll just feel so much better when spring semester starts, you have to get back to writing, and you’re already, say, halfway done.

As for the presentation at the end, don’t sweat it. I’d advise creating as simple a PowerPoint or other presentation as you can, and practicing both with your adviser (if possible) and with fellow students, honors or otherwise. It’s excellent to get feedback from people who do not know your topic as well as you do; that way, your presentation on the actual day is as clear as possible for your audience.

Last, I’ll just say not to underestimate the editing process. That final round of edits may not seem like too much, but when you’ve got 40 pages to go through, it does take a long time. Don’t put it off to the last minute. Really, don’t put anything off to the last minute. It’s so stressful.

Well, that’s all I have. Thank you for reading my thesis ramblings. Good job seniors, pat yourselves on the back. Good luck to future thesis writers; hopefully these tips will make sense when you begin your own projects!

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