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Masters Discussion Forum

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This Category:   PostgraduateForum.com > Masters Dissertations


MA Thesis Crisis

User: Epel - 31 July 2016 08:40

Hello All,

I really really need some advice. I am in my 2nd year of my 2-year MA. This summer, I was supposed to have completed my thesis, but I just couldn't, for a number of reasons; extreme stress, social isolation (I live in a foreign country with no family or close friends, so I had no real emotional support), problems of communication with my supervisor and slight lack of focus (which led me to having a 200+ list of sources at the end, for a 70-80 page paper-so I was totally lost in all those books/articles)...I am now faced with a 3-month extension...The problem is that I need tomake changes to my topic too (fortunately I can stay within the same topic) and then complete the paper...I have about 100 pages written by now, but unfortunately I wasted too much time in researching/writing things that at the end just don't work with my topic. My supervisor is not that helpful with this-she just points at more sources and she is not really understanding about the external factors that keep me unfocused. When I had discussed a possible extension with her, she made me feel really embarassed, threatening that she will drop me as she thinks I'm not working hard enough-and in my university, you can only change your supervisor in exceptional circumstances, pretty much you're expected to continue with the same supervisor for the total of 3 attempts you have to submit your thesis. I know that I need to make changes now, but I don't really want to put everything I have so far in the garbage... Does any of you have any experience with a similar situation? Would you say that I have real chances at turning things around in that time frame?

User: Codycody - 02 August 2016 03:34

Hi Epel,

I really sympathise with you. I wrote a similar message on here a few months back asking for opinions as to whether it would be possible for me to turn my PhD thesis around and meet my final submission date! My circumstances are also less than ideal - full time busy job, two children, single mother, I live overseas and also feel isolated and don't have much support so I can definitely relate to how you feel. HOWEVER....

Only you can decide if it's possible. I think it's all about the mindset and just making a decision one way or the other. I have 4 months to write 70k words, but I have decided to do it. How many words do you still have to write and in how much time? Decide if it is something that you are able and willing to do and if you decide to do it then just go into it with 100% conviction. I wasted a lot of time, anxiety, energy and tears worrying myself sick, rather than just focusing and taking charge of what needs to be done. If you decide to complete it, then your mindset and attitude has got to be right! It won't be easy but if you decide it is possible then it will be possible.

I don't think there's much you can do at this stage about your supervisor so just accept that situation for what it is and don't dwell on it. I would say focus on the things that you CAN change. Can you foster a better relationship with her? Can you humbly explain how lost you are and ask for help to refocus? Can you ask her to help you put together a timetable of work?

If it really is all too much for you then just walk away with your sanity. Nobody ever died of not having a Masters or PhD and you have nothing to prove to anyone, it doesn't make you a worse person if you decide to quit. By the same token , you've come this far and if you have it in you to complete, then go for it!

Wishing you the very best of luck!

User: kikothedog - 02 August 2016 15:14

It comes down to willpower, determination and choice. You can do it, it may take all your free time, even pulling long nighters but if you want to you'll do it. Some people thrive under pressure others wilt. Good luck!

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