Thesis Blues

Late post this week, partly because I’m wrapping up the thesis, but this is something I’ve wanted to talk about. I don’t know if it’s from doing the night shift at the office or just the fluidity of a thesis-based schedule, but more often now I find myself with the thesis blues. The thesis blues are where you realize that you haven’t seen a human who doesn’t live in your house for a week, haven’t been to an event in months, and are starting to forget what your friends look like. Let me explain. 

The thesis exists in all times and places. It dominates your thoughts and demands your attention. Moments spent not thinking about the thesis are often followed by moments of guilt for not thinking about the thesis. Because of this, and in an attempt to maintain a work schedule which some might say borders on madness, I have a tendency to fall behind. Not on work, though the last week has been pretty rough on blog posts because I’m pushing so hard to wrap this up. But on friends and on sanity, for lack of a better term. I rarely see them because I spend nearly every evening in my office, and even if I chat with them online or in person, it’s brief because I want to get back to the thesis. Even if I don’t, and wind up whiling away an hour watching pro Starcraft on Youtube, I feel as though I ought to avoid them because they distract from my thesis. So do events, as well as eating and sleeping.

It wasn’t always like this. In the beginning, my thesis and I had a wonderful relationship. I’d spend a bit of time working on it every day and then skip joyfully away to visit with people. I had an exuberance that relieved any sense of pressure. But as the summer grows short, I still know that I’ll get it done on time, but it’s become a fixation, an obsession that I can’t imagine not having but can’t wait to be rid of. I’ve enjoyed my moments writing it, but those moments dominate my day entirely. By next week, I should be free of its tyranny. I’m going to waste some time then, play a lot of video games and generally relax, but I’m also going to get out and see people, not all of the people whose summer I’ve missed out on, but some of them.

Now I’ve got a Skype call coming up, and then more pages to write. I’m going to beat this thing, both the thesis and the thesis blues.

This week’s TPK features a lightning round of different character motivations and a wiki update on the Icewalkers, a tribe in the frozen north. Concept Crucible looks at the greatest happiness principle as advice, and one of my favourite videos on the history of science. Finally, Labyrinth has the second installment of the Adventures of Phillip (Wherein the blood of a hero is relocated), and unearths a bunch of recent archaeological finds under cities.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Been there. I remember it well. Thesis blues, followed by defense blues. That’s part of why I wasn’t too upset about quitting the Ph.D. It does get better though. After it’s all done, you’ll miss it.

  2. I definitely will. I like being in charge of my time, I like having a fluid schedule, and I love the people I’ve met and the space I share in grad school. My thesis though, I’m not sure I’ll miss that.

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