Tuesday, 1 July 2014

How to help someone that is writing up their thesis

Writing a thesis is a lonely and it can be a very stressful time. I found it extremely difficult to keep up with friends and family. Holding normal, conversations that lasted longer than two sentences without my mind drifting away to thesis related thoughts was also a challenge.

Quite a few of my close friends have gone through their thesis too and I thought it might be useful for those that haven't experienced the joys, highs and lows of thesis writing how they can help support those that are writing up.

A few things that you can do to help...

See if they would like to go out for food or a walk but don't get annoyed if all the said person does is talk about their thesis. Getting writers away from their computer can be a welcome distraction.

Send them some nice smelly soaps/shampoo - I stopped all shopping when writing up

You could also send fruit and healthy snacks. Confession time. I once spent a weekend at my desk writing up and ate all of my desk mates food because it was within arms length. He wasn't happy. His nickname for me is now 'the seagull'.

Try not to get annoyed if they are a bit snappy or don't reply to emails/requests - when you are writing up your mind works in strange ways

If you are planning something tell them where they need to be/when and what they need to do. Don't ask them a lot of questions about availability and dates as they will probably get confused. Trying to plan when you are immersed in a thesis is a challenge.

Be patient and supportive. They will stop writing their thesis (and hopefully pass) but thesis writing can last for months/years. It isn't like writing up a dissertation as part of an undergraduate or masters course.


A few things that might be best avoided..

Don't keep asking what they are doing post-thesis (especially if they don't know)

Don't say 'have you not finished that yet?'

Don't compare their thesis to your undergraduate project..


If you are the thesis writer...

Try not to get stressed when people can't understand the situation.

Get outside every once in a while (it helps)

Try and speak to your friends and family every once in a while

Try and get a hobby that doesn't take up too much time but does give you some escapism

Watch cat videos on youtube (and/or ASMR ones - also I found watching 10 minute episodes of Charlie and Lola on iplayer also helped!) Here are a few more suggestions for current thesis writers!


If anyone has any other tips or stories to share please do! 

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