Megs has been the steady voice of the Graduate School blog for a little over a year now. Since June 1, 2011, she has kept us informed of various events both on and off campus, the awards of students and alumni, and news for the College of Charleston community. She will finish and defend her thesis this summer and graduate with a Master of Science in Environmental Studies. We will miss Megs dearly and wish her best wishes on a new adventure – life after grad school. Below is her final blog as a student. If you have ever written, or are writing, a thesis, I am sure you can commiserate with her thoughts.
How to write a thesis, you ask?
Even though I am nearly done, I don’t even know where to start. I recently talked to a friend about the thesis writing process, and we decided that it’s 5% thinking of a topic, 80% researching and writing, 10% editing, and 5% defending. But let me tell you, I feel like this has added up to 549584%!!! You go through the motions of finding a topic, writing a proposal, getting the proposal approved, conducting your own research, making sense of everything, writing (what seems like a million pages), and defending. It feels never-ending! Some people (even myself sometimes) may ask what the point is, or if it’s worth it. Now that I have submitted the first draft, however, I finally feel like I can answer these questions in a positive way!
I am in the environmental studies program, and I have focused primarily on policy throughout my two years (and a summer) here. I have been studying how people in the Lowcountry understand scientific information about the local food movement in order to assess how best to motivate or alter their behavior. So after two years of classes, secondary research, and primary research, I finally have what a thesis is all about – RESULTS. It was kind of like Christmas morning when I realized that all of my data produced something real. I know that may be one of the nerdiest things to hear, but it’s true! And I finally feel like my two years here as a graduate student has been worth it.
I still have a few more steps to go in this thesis writing process. Once my advisor edits my thesis, I will then send it to my committee for edits. Then, I must defend. So, sometime in the next month, I need to drastically improve my public speaking skills, and try to use this master’s degree to find job!
I know that in a few years I will look back on graduate school the same way I look back on undergrad- remembering only the good and forgetting all of the bad. I will forget all of the stress and hurdles I had to jump through, and I will remember the friends I have made, the good times I have had in Charleston, and my successful thesis.
For everyone in the same boat as me, I wish you luck. For everyone just starting out, just know that the whole process seems a lot scarier than it actually is.