It’s your senior year – you’ve almost made it! Just two semesters stand between you and the ability to clutch a well-earned diploma. If your schedule planned out to your preference, your minimal time left at Gannon will be a breeze. For some this is only halfway true, with the exception being a senior research course, more commonly known as senior thesis. Horror stories about the class have been passed down by previous years’ seniors, creating an enormous amount of worrisome hype for a course that, truthfully, can be taken on quite easily and efficiently – as long as you’re not BFF with “Dee Laying.”
1) Schedule the date of your presentation immediately after you designate your topic.
Having a set date and time for the final step of your project will keep your mind focused and keep you on schedule with your ultimate deadline. Knowing the exact date and time will also help you schedule and plan for other classes, which will divvy your attention accordingly to avoid falling behind.
2) Create an outline of your thesis paper.
Once you designate your topic and have begun your research, the ample amounts of sources and information you’ve obtained can become overwhelming. Rather than drowning in an overload of annotated bibliographic sources, create an outline for your paper and begin plugging them into the corresponding subtopics. This will help you see which sources will be beneficial and which ones you can toss.
3) Meet with the chair of your board regularly.
Throughout the process of your thesis project you may find yourself lost or stuck at a certain point in your research. Don’t panic! You chose the members of your board because they are experts in the area you are researching; use this resource. They are there to help and guide you from their knowledge and experience. Even a quick 10-minute conversation with your chair member can make the world of difference in keeping you on track.
4) Conduct personal interviews.
While online sources, articles, scholarly reviews or even book references are great resources to search for your thesis, do not undermine the benefits of a simple interview. You are immersed in a campus with numerous experts in various areas, who may even happen to have insight on your project. Dig a little deeper, and look past the computer screen to your daily environment. It is no surprise that Gannon’s faculty is always willing to help students.
5) Practice your presentation.
It may be required by your thesis professor to practice your presentation in front of the class, but why not present to a staff of professionals? The Student Success Center is your one-stop shop to have your paper proofread, and practice your presentation in front of someone who will help you focus on the areas you are not yet confident in.
6) Do NOT delay your work!
This may seem like common sense to some; however, there is always one student in the mindset that they can delay the meat of the project until the end. Avoid the stress and painful hair-pulling when you are bombarded by a mountain of work all at once by simply planning ahead. This Type-A characteristic should be practiced religiously. As students, we are keen to prioritizing our workload, focusing on the most pressing assignment first, but blocking off a chunk of time dedicated solely to your thesis project each night will diminish the habit of procrastination.
7) Most importantly: BREATHE!
You may have heard the horror stories about the grueling work and time involved in completing your thesis project; don’t let these embellished tales discourage you. By following these simple steps to surviving your senior thesis you will ensure success and efficient time management. The design of the senior research course was not created to burden or fail you; it is part of the curriculum for seniors so that they may embolden the view of themselves through the application of their own intellect when presenting their extensive effort and research.