36 days to go.
I recently filed the paperwork which confirmed to my University that I intend to submit my thesis. This should have been a happy moment. Instead, I panicked.
How on earth am I going to do this?
Thing is, I’ve been trying to write the damn things for months. Arguably, nearly a year. The process has been painful and I have hated every week of it, but I made a lot of progress. I went from having a lot of blank pages to a lot of half-finished chapters. Now, I have to take this mess and craft it into a readable thing and quickly.
… and I don’t think that I can do this in just 36 days. With the timer hanging over my head like some sort of impractically clockwork sword of Damocles, I am panicking. So, as with every time I panic, I come here.
I thought that it would be useful to keep a log of how I do. For me, this is one big experiment in forcing myself to work effectively. Right now, I genuinely don’t think that I’ll finish on time – but so many other people say I will. I consistently doubt myself. It would be nice to show myself that I can work through these things and succeed… and if I can’t, then I will have told you so. I’ll write a short post like this every day to record how well (*badly) I end up doing.
Today, I took all of my separate chapters and combined them into one thing. I’m writing in Word 2010 (go on, scold me for not using LaTeX), so it took a little time to figure out exactly what to do. I’m still struggling a little with the details of numbering captions, but that’ll work out soon.
My thesis has eight chapters right now, and all told it’s somewhat too long. Part of that is because I’m really good at just writing things, so I inevitably have a few too many words. Another part is that I really like putting in figures. If a picture paints a thousand words, by my thesis is mostly RGB encoded right now.
That wouldn’t be so much of a problem if I had made good use of all the pictures, but I think many of them are redundant or not as informative as they should be. A large part of the challenge to overcome between now and submission is just reducing that volume by cutting bits out which don’t help the overall thesis very much. Thankfully, that’s remarkably easy to do at the moment. I have several chapters in my sights right now, specifically Chapters 6-7 and Chapter 3. They have a LOT of figures.
The biggest problem right now is the Theory chapter. I thought I had a pretty reasonable handle on it until I tried actually writing it, now I’m not so confident. I realised I need some more pictures to illustrate how the theory actually comes out (graphs are easier to read than equations). That means I have to run a few simulations, which I hadn’t even written at the start of the day. Doing such things takes time, and it took me a few hours just getting started. Still, I get to make more pretty pictures!
More words tomorrow. ❤