Things I Wish I’d Known When Writing My Thesis: Reflections of a Recent Graduate
By Leanne Gaudet

 December 10, 2015

Busy desk - image sourced from Creative Commons.

Image sourced from Creative Commons.

Leanne Gaudet graduated from the MA Art History program in June 2015 and is currently working as an Exhibitions Assistant at Library and Archives Canada. Her MA thesis “Framing Narratives: An Examination of Women’s Histories in the Wyatt Historic House Museum” focused on the application of material culture theory to framing women’s narratives and histories through the platform of historic house museums. Find her wonderful thesis here!

We asked Leanne to give her advice to graduate students currently writing their theses or contemplating undertaking a thesis project!

Here is what Leanne had to say:

  1. By the time I was writing a thesis, I thought I would feel like an insightful, brilliant scholar. I didn’t. In fact, I felt the same as I always had when approaching a project. This is okay! You will still write a successful thesis even if you don’t feel like a genius.
  1. Read your university’s online thesis guidelines again and again and again… Carleton’s can be found here.
  1. Try to do one thesis-related thing every single day. Write a page, read an article, create a chapter outline, work on citations, etc. This will make the workload less overwhelming
  1. That being said, don’t stress (too much) about reading every single book and every single article related to your topic – it’s just not going to happen! Figure out when you are the most productive.
  1. Try to plan your day so you write during this period in a space that you feel comfortable in.
  1. It’s necessary to take breaks. Spend time with your friends, go for a walk, sit down and watch a movie. Your brain will thank you!
  1. Try as hard as you can to not compare yourself to others. Everyone works and accomplishes goals in different ways.
  1. Be honest with your supervisor about what you might be finding challenging or stressful – it is their job to help and support you.
  1. Talk about your work and share your progress! Some of the best books that I read in relation to my thesis were recommended to me after discussing my topic in casual conversation with friends and colleagues.
  1. Finally, choose a topic that you love. Your passion with drive your work and make the experience an enjoyable one!

Thanks Leanne!