On Tuesday I went for a mid-morning spoon-restoring coffee at my local cafe, and the stars aligned so that I was sitting right near a man about my age who was having a big freak-out whinge to his coffee companion about his thesis, and his research question. As he kept talking and I eavesdropped, I gathered that he was in his second semester of Honours, the same as me.
It was such an encouragement to hear that a fellow student was having the same worries and issues as me. I have not experienced much of an Honours cohort. I met some other Honours students at a welcome lunch, but I haven’t had the chance to form any friendships. The fact that it meant so much to me to hear that someone else was struggling with the same things as me, made me realise that I miss that camaraderie. So I am thinking of getting in contact with some other Honours students for study/whinge dates. I reckon that would be really encouraging.
I have mostly been analysing data and writing in response to the literature I have been reading. At one point when I was analysing the writing, I found myself looking forward to the less-achieving students’ writing because there are fewer sentences. Sometimes it feels endless. The other day I got frustrated because I realised there were certain elements that I had analysed inconsistently. So I have to decide which way it’s going to go and make it consistent. That kind of thing overwhelms me. Especially when I’m not quite confident on which way to go.
Writing in response to the readings can get overwhelming too. Everything I write spawns out into something bigger that turns into a thesis in itself. I wrote some comment about why it is difficult to systematically compare English-only schools with bilingual schools. Then I questioned my own dichotomy about English-only verses bilingual. I thought, I need to explain to my reader that this is not a simple distinction. So I opened a new document and started writing. Next minute, I’ve written 329 words and I’m only a third of a way through the reasons why English-only schools are similar/different to bilingual schools. And that just for an aside. This thesis is only 18,000 words long.
I guess it’s okay to write more than I need to. I can always edit it down. I just wonder what the point is of writing words that I’m later going to cut. Better out than in, I suppose. It doesn’t cost me much, except for time, and I’m starting to worry about how much I have of that.
This week was super productive, but I still didn’t get everything I wanted to done. I have to rearrange my long-term thesis-writing schedule so I can stay on track.
A lot of the time I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. But I have these free postcards, about half a dozen of them, that I’ve written slogans on to encourage myself, such as “You can’t edit a blank page”. Well this week, I made a new one, saying “Don’t stress if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. That’s how you learn.”