The 5 stages of (failing at) planning your Master thesis and how it works out in the end

I bet you see lots of suggestions to how you SHOULD plan and write your master’s thesis, right? But there’s a big difference between what should happen and what actually happens, so here’s my story – which might teach you to start planning earlier or that everything is not always perfect but can still work out.


1: Denial and isolation

You have just come back from a lovely summer and you are more worried about keeping your tan for a few more weeks and enjoying the last days of sun in Sweden (you will need vitamin D reserves for the long dark winter that is coming).


2: Anger

But suddenly… panic attack alert! The amount of emails with thesis proposals that you are receiving is increasing and you still have no idea what you want to do. So you decide to talk to your classmates and make sure they have been procrastinating just like you but… surprise! Some of them have spent the whole summer collecting data for their theses! WHAT!!?? You start to wonder if you should have been spending less time drinking less sangria and more time working (but let’s be honest, there is never enough time for sangria).


3: Bargaining

You take a chill pill and start going over all those thesis proposals. If you happen to like any of them, you send an e-mail… only to find out that someone else e-mailed long ago and took over that topic…


4: Depression

Ok, at this point you start to think about a topic that is interesting enough to find someone willing to supervise you, but you need to elaborate a project plan in order to convince them.


5: Acceptance (of defeat)

It looks like you can’t find any topic that matches the expectations and you are starting to consider studying something like “People’s clothing behaviour according to external weather”, “Duration of urination according to body size”, “Sword swallowing and its side effects” or “Chicken with artificial tails walking like dinosaurs”. Yeah, maybe you don’t get the Nobel prize but you will have a chance to win the IgNobel at least… Note: Unfortunately all these studies are already published in scientific journals, click the link to find more about them 😉

Resultado de imagen de cc by image  Grossi, Bruno; Iriarte-Diaz, Jose; Larach, Omar; Canals, Mauricio; A. Vásquez, Rodrigo; Vellino, Andre (2014): Walking Like Dinosaurs: Chickens with Artificial Tails Provide Clues about Non-Avian Theropod Locomotion. figshare.

6: Victory!!!

But fear not! Somehow all the stars and planets aligned in my favour and I’ve managed to find a topic that KI will approve, a person willing to supervise me and the strength to elaborate an actual project plan with potential.

So what is the take home message: kids, don’t worry, things work out! (Also, )

Keep tuned if you want to suffer the struggles of a second year PHS-Epidemiology student writing her master thesis at KI. And feel welcome to email me with any question, doubt, or nice comment:

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