What I’ve found out recently from writing my Thesis

Lumen Yang Lv3


I started my master’s thesis last September. Four months have elapsed since then, and we’ve managed to produce some not bad results. However, I find myself often grappling with a sense of dissatisfaction and frustration throughout the process.

Basically I haven’t been as engaged or focused on the thesis as I should have been, or what I anticipated myself to be. My daily commitment hasn’t been a solid eight hours, and I’ve allowed myself to be distracted by things like LeetCode or other inconsequential matters that, in retrospect, pale in comparison to the importance of my thesis. I found that regardless of my initial motivation each day, I often end up sidetracked from my original plan. Whether it’s a minor modification or a different topic, I get diverted.

It is pretty strange as this topic is my own proposal and I liked it so much that I want to move from Munich to Freiburg, solely to write this thesis. I left my comfort zone and my friends, staying at a different city alone just to get a chance of writing thesis on this topic. Also, throughout the past months, I didn’t find this topic any less interesting, the lab is good, my supervisors has taught me a lot, everything seems good except myself.

I’ve been trying to fight back this, how should I say, either a tendency of procastination or a mindset that is pretty easy distracted. but so far, the results have been less than satisfactory. I’m still struggling with these issues. Worst of all, I didn’t know what is wrong, I can only blame myself as a whole for being lazy or inconsistent, and self-doubt is not a good feeling.


However, after I come back from Munich after the New Year’s holiday, I’ve observed a couple of internal sensations that were previously ignored. Two instances that helped me to understand what is going wrong.

First, I noticed my reluctance to check the results of my experiments, even if they’ve been ready for days. Instead of reviewing what’s been done, I start new ones. This wouldn’t be an issue if everything went smoothly, but when you’re doing things for the first time, there are always minor errors that render the results useless. Also, I has always subscribed to the idea to accept failure and fail fast is a good thing in research area, since researching is fundamentally exploring unknown domain of human knowledges, so failing is a common thing to expect. Whatever view the conscious me holds, it wasn’t until recent discovery did I found that I’m subconsciously afraid of failing.

Second, It wasn’t until today that I recognized the anxiety and agitation that overwhelmed me when I sat down to work. Like 10 mins before I was anticipating to have some great work done today and I’m looking forward to it, but when I sat down, the sensation has instantly changed to some very strong unsettlement. This emotional turmoil made the task at hand seem mentally unbearable, preventing me from enjoying the smaller successes I used to enjoy and making me overly concerned with the bigger picture.

These realizations just hit me on why my anticipation couldn’t motivate me. It is the high expectation itself that causes the problem.

Although my thesis topic remains interesting to me, it’s also attached with very high expectations — proving my academic competence, publishing a paper, securing a PhD position at my current institute. These expectations have added a tremendous burden to my research.

The belief that this work can validate my capabilities has led to a mindset where minor setbacks or errors are seen as ominous signs of failure. Consequently, I’ve started procrastinating because I’m unable to appreciate the smaller steps and achievements, which has deterred me from initiating new tasks.

The solution

Understanding the root of my problem has led me to a simple solution, which is consciously examine my internal state before I begin my work. I deliberately shift my focus away from the grand visions of success, choosing instead to find joy in each individual task. This approach was effective today, and I hope that this small pre-work routine will continue to aid me in the future.

I would say, fortunately the issues were found during, rather than after, my thesis work. So I still got time to mitigate the damage. Although in the hinsight, I do have many past goals left unfinished due to this mindset, and it would be better if such realization was made earlier.

But I suppose that’s the way you grow up in your life. Nothing will be perfect and you can only control what is to happen, not what has happened.

  • Title: What I’ve found out recently from writing my Thesis
  • Author: Lumen Yang
  • Created at : 2024-01-15 19:52:43
  • Updated at : 2024-01-15 23:45:08
  • Link: https://www.lumeny.io/2024/01/15/What I’ve found out recently from writing my Thesis/
  • License: This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.
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What I’ve found out recently from writing my Thesis