Saturday, June 10, 2006

Tips for despairing grad students: a new series

Tip #1: Keep someone else's really bad dissertation on hand for when you start to feel the dreaded "My thesis will never be good enough" blues.

I just read one that was full of factual errors, referencing errors (including missing references), confusion of terminology (including the same mistakes that my supervisor recently helped me sort out in one of my own chapters) and references back to data that was probably discussed in some earlier draft, but had since been taken out.

And, you know what? This guy passed, and even got it published.

And so will I.

6 Comments:

Clair said...

Woohoo for positive thinking! :)

Psycgirl said...

That is SUCH a good idea... I need to find one of those...

cristy said...

Where do I get my hands on such a thesis, and why didn't I think of that tactic earlier?

StyleyGeek said...

Yeah, I guess the problem is actually finding one. You probably have to read a lot of good ones before you discover one that makes you feel better rather than worse.

I just got lucky with this one. But I'm going to keep it nearby as essential bedtime reading forever after.

StyleyGeek said...

Oh, and I think you have a higher chance of finding one the closer it is to your own topic. The reason I spotted all these "obvious" mistakes and the examiners presumably didn't is that this is material I have been dealing with intensively myself for the past two years and I know the references, terminology and potential pitfalls back to front.

smelt said...

Thank you! I've been pummeling myself with the fear that mine is going to be that exemplar thesis. I don't think it will be, but even if so, I will have passed.

(In the initial writing, I used the word "I" instead of mine, and instead of it. Perhaps an additional tip there: you are not your thesis!)