The pandemic has molded many of us to become pioneers and innovators. It is a privilege to be able to work with some of them – The Groundbreakers. On the last mile of their thesis writing, Alia, Bench, Daphne, Janillaine and Zyrus share with us their lockdown academic journey.
Based on your experience, what are the advantages and disadvantages of doing your thesis this time of pandemic?
The pandemic enabled us to consider new approaches and strategies in solving problems that may be useful in similar situations in the future. We were given an opportunity to pursue a topic that can address the impact of this crisis.
It was cost and time-efficient. We did not need to travel to meet up because we could do it anytime virtually even past midnight with necessary breaks. And even if there were many revisions on the manuscript there was no need to print for we collaborated online.
However, data gathering was quite challenging despite the plethora of information from the internet which some can only be accessed with paid subscription. We made sure to interview important people to enrich our study. Oftentimes, intermittent connection, gadget issues and the long use of these devices were also a struggle.
It would have been fun doing our thesis in one place together and holding face to face interviews.
How were you able to address those disadvantages/challenges?
Consultation with our thesis teacher and adviser were helpful. The group had to be diligent. We accessed various papers and studies similar to ours via Researchgate, a commercial social networking site for scientists and researchers. Meetings and interviews were conducted on time using different online platforms.
With that setup, patience and teamwork were needed for a harmonious working relationship. We try to be considerate of each other’s concerns. A system was in place so we progress toward our goals.
Would you have preferred to work solo or with a group?
The group was a sounding board. It allowed ideas to be tested and refined. Our collaboration delivered great results and it was a comfort to somebody’s got your back.
How do you think working on your thesis will help you prepare for your future profession/career?
Working on our thesis built our stamina for research, technical writing and communication. It widened our horizons by exposing us to a number of strategies we can utilize for our future work. We were trained to become critical thinkers and decisive.
What lessons can you share to students who will soon work on their thesis?
First, look for thesis mates that have the same energy or dynamics as yours. Otherwise, it will be more exhausting to work when you’re not comfortable with each other.
Second, choose a topic that all of you will be motivated to work on. It must be exciting so all your hard work will be worth it.
Third, listen to your group mates’ concerns. Have educational conversations with them for proper insights mapping. Read, identify root causes, be empirical, your topic should be feasible.
Fourth, do not be afraid to ask a lot of questions to your group mates or thesis teacher, and adviser. Clarify and do not be complacent.
Lastly, believe in yourself and in your work. Manifest what you need and believe, then everything will follow.