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Honours Diary Part 1: 9 Weeks, 3 Days To Go

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To be honest, I’m not sure how I got into honours. I feel ridiculously unqualified and under prepared for it. Academically, it’s the most ambitious thing I’ve undertaken and with about 9 weeks to go, I already feel like that due date is looming. So what progress have I made to date?

Very little. It’s week 4 and I’ve probably done a couple of days of serious work. In my defence I have been working full time. Admittedly, I’ve also consumed A LOT of CCs while watching A LOT of Supernatural (don’t judge it until you’ve tried it).

I guess you could say the first few weeks of my thesis have largely been devoted to not doing it. I also suspect this post may just be an elaborate form of procrastination. Not just for me but also for you- after all, you’re procrastinating by reading about my procrastination. So what have I actually done?

I had wonderful intentions of beginning my research in the uni break. Epic fail. The most I achieved was some half-hearted Googling.

The first time I did anything for my thesis in the holidays was when I went to a research thesis information afternoon the day before uni went back. We heard lofty things about how our research would contribute to the body of human knowledge but there was no real guidance on what a thesis is or should have.

A former honours student shared his experiences: he wrote his entire thesis in six days (and did well). Another friend has since told me that she wrote her essay in ten days. Stories like this make me feel dizzy and a bit nauseas. I realise that this info day is actually about scaring you into starting work early. I left uni feeling largely uninformed and somewhat terrified.

Despite this, it turns out that the scare tactics have had little impact. Every research thesis student I speak to has done little to no work so far. I myself have managed to watch 4 seasons of Supernatural. I have also renewed library books on my thesis topic for the third time. All I have achieved there is tripping over them and re-stacking them a dozen times since initially borrowing them.

About a week ago the panic set in. Despite my best planning, it turns out that the day I am scheduled to go overseas for 3.5 months is also the day my thesis is due. I even double checked my flight time and confirmed that I could hand in my paper in on the way to the airport. I’m starting to envy my friend (who decided about 4 hours into the new semester) to defer his honours thesis until next term.

Research has since begun in earnest. It turns out that one of the key players in the event my thesis is focussing on has delivered a very long and very useful speech on the topic. It also turns out that the Bill I was planning on writing about for my thesis has since become an Act. Oh goody. It feels like academic fate.

I’ve also succumbed to a new, geeky low. Last week I went to a class at the library on how to use the Endnote program. Yes, I went to a class about how to use a computer program to do your footnotes and bibliography. Sigh.

Researching has proved tricky. It seems there are way more news paper articles on my topic than there are cases and law journal articles. I’m finding it pretty frustrating- it’s causing me to wonder what my question was in the first place. And on the information available I’m not sure that I can actually answer it.

I’m meeting with my thesis supervisor in about an hour. I’m hoping for a miracle.

Fingers crossed.

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