Things I am Learning From Writing My Thesis

Instead of complaining and venting about my life right now, I would make a post about the positives: things I am learning about writing a thesis. Maybe it would be helpful for other people to. If you don't know it already, I am currently working on my PhD thesis. There is only a couple of weeks left until I have to hand in my thesis and 4 weeks until I defend. It is kind of crazy.

  1. I am learning to write more concise and smoothly. I am learning to troubleshoot why I have such hard time writing up large projects. It seems like I recognize what I should be writing when I see it, but I have trouble making it a reality when I write something myself. I am not sure if it makes sense. But I think I am getting there more I write. When it comes to scientific writing... practice practice practice unless you are born with the skills.
  2. The hardest part of writing a thesis is writing the general introduction for the entire thesis. Thesis works are usually about a very specific topic in a specific field. In the introduction section, you have to write a review on general state of the field in specific details in a way that relates to your specific problem. You can't just include general random information you think it should be there, instead you have to make sure this information relates to your specific topic somehow. You see the problem.... you have to write a general review very specifically in a way that relates to your extremely specific topic. It is kind of weird...
  3. I think it is important to collect papers and journals along the way with specific notes on the first page the day you start in the lab. Then, it is extremely useful to categorize the papers by topics that make sense to you. Because it would be very helpful for you to find references to cite when you write your thesis. When you know a little bit about everything in the field, it gets hard to remember exactly who did the actual experiments when you need to cite them. So make sure to somehow develop your own data base of journals.
  4. Figures are the most important part of any manuscript or thesis. They can be very overwhelming to make, because finding the right result and scanning them to be made into figures with visually appealing labels and sizes can be taunting. So it is just so much better to make figures as they are produced, so they do not pile up on you. Also making figures helps you to see the big picture and figure out what needs to be done in the future to complete the story.
  5.  Last but not least, BREATH

PS: I found these perfectly smooth beautiful rocks by the lake near by. Tides wore down the rocks like this with time. I think it is kind of crazy simple things in life can be so beautiful and mesmerizing.