Our Monster

| Patricia Reyes

Patricia Reyes – Patyt on social media - is our student columnist. Twice a month she writes about student life, what makes her tick and stray observations.

Photo by: Gijs van Ouwerkerk

From the first day of my Master’s program, I knew I would have to eventually confront that hideous monster which daunts us all. As quartiles passed by, I kept hearing others speak about their frightening experiences with it. I witnessed how my closest friends got wrecked by it. After many tales of its ferocity, it is now my turn to face it: the dreaded Thesis. Underlined and with capital T.

I’m not scared about the technical or analytical difficulties of the enterprise, I like to think there’s no knowledge or ability that cannot be learned or trained with enough commitment. What’s really scary about the Thesis is its power to turn your mind into a whirlwind when you’ve been staring at it for far too long. For those who haven’t faced this weird and wild creature yet, let me do my best to explain its monstrous nature.

Imagine you wake up one day firmly decided to embark on a journey to the battleground where you aim to beat this beast. You’re feeling somewhat uneasy, but you carry the best weapons on your back: a comprehensive schedule with many micro-deadlines, your friends in WhatsApp as a 24/7 support line, and good habits you don’t want to miss like working out every night and sleeping at least seven hours per night.

But once you’ve been on board for a couple of weeks, it becomes incredibly easy to lose track of where you were going in the first place. You find yourself adrift in a huge sea of time. Months in of Thesis’ conversations, Thesis’ readings, and Thesis’ writings, you start doubting you’ve got the right approach, the right literature, or the right topic. You aren’t even sure that what you’re saying is that relevant at all.

You start suspecting whether this monster you were waiting to confront hasn’t caught you off guard already. And before you know it, the Thesis is already all around you, becoming the first thing you think of when you wake up and the last thing you think of before going to sleep. Now a central part of your life, you want to defeat it as fast as possible because it represents the last straw. A last obstacle standing in the way of this crazy dream of signing that sweet diploma and going to bed with, at last, some peace of mind.

As I precipitate towards this beast, adrift in the ocean, I feel like wielding a sword multiple times in all directions until I strike it where it hurts. But I’m finding out just now that this monster can’t be beaten with a deadly royal sword, nor a lightsaber, or a flamethrower. While the micro-deadlines and my friends’ support are helpful tools for the battle, it seems I will need way more ammunitions of patience and trust of where I’m heading to.