Tips against stress, writer’s block and Co.

The completion of the study is imminent – only this one big hurdle: the master thesis. Everything could be so easy. Could.

Do not be afraid of the scope and content of the Masterabeit

For example, while humanities scholars often have to write 90 to 120 pages, the faculty of economics at the University of Bielefeld only expects about 60 to 80 pages. The time frame, however, is more uniform. He is in almost all subjects at half a year.

Empirical examinations, as they are done in a dissertation, often come too short. Nevertheless, most professors appreciate it when their own research, survey or study is the basis of the Master’s thesis. Exclusive citation of secondary literature should only be done with the utmost care in the age of plagiarism. The master’s thesis is more comprehensive than a bachelor thesis and goes more into the depth of science.

In some degree programs, it is customary to verbally “defend” the work. This means, for example, holding a 20-minute presentation and then answering the examiner’s questions for ten minutes. After such a colloquium, the grade of the thesis can still be changed.

Do not worry about the Prof

Every professor is interested in students successfully graduating from their university. A good dissertation advisor would have to deal with structural and personal components of his students, says Prof. Dr. med. Peter Riegler from the Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences Braunschweig / Wolfenbüttel in Computer Science. “If I find that a student is afraid of the written work, I let him start early, so there is no Aufschieberitis.” Some people need clear guidelines because they are uncertain, others are more independent.

“In the beginning, I often meet with the student on a daily basis to pinpoint what is to be done, what structure is behind it, what input the person needs,” says Riegler. Later, the gaps will increase. He was well received by the students who voted him “Professor of the Year” in 2011. “I like to have pre-release versions to prevent serious mistakes and plagiarism in the final version,” says Riegler. Since he knows how time-consuming the supervision is, he deliberately accepts only two to three master theses per semester.

No jitters about the topic of the master thesis

“Interest in the topic is the best motivation,” says author and academic educator Andrea Behnke, after all, they spend at least six months working on it intensively. Not all courses of study are self-employed. Sometimes the supervisor specifies a topic. At universities of applied sciences, the rule is to write the work outside the institution. “Often, companies issue master’s topics to the students, which can not be processed according to the examination regulations,” says Prof. Dr. med. Riegler, who then feels in the duty of care to his students.

At universities, in computer science, the thesis is written in working groups. They offer much more support options, also in terms of motivation. There are more competent contacts there who can help, even if the supervising professor is not there.

The topic is especially crucial if you want to get into science later on with the Master, because you qualify in a certain subarea of ​​your area of ​​expertise and build your own master’s thesis with your PhD.

Do not worry about a writer’s block

Writing blocks often arise because the master’s thesis is piled up in front of you, because you only see the whole thing and the many pages you have to fill. “It is better to disassemble the work in steps and to make a time and work plan for each step,” says writing coach Andrea Behnke. The schedule also clearly includes free times. “You need breaks and variety to be creative.” Once you are clear about the message, “you should invest time in a structure that serves as a framework but can be changed as you write.”

The “when” and “where” of writing should suit everyone to their own rhythm. It makes sense only to expose everything that pulls you out of the flow of writing: Internet, social networks and the telephone. “As a reward, you can then treat yourself to small windows, in which then deliberately surfed or talked on the phone.”

Do not panic about deadlines

Many students have “adventurous fantasies” about what demands are made on a master’s thesis. The fear of the day of submission is sometimes so great. It could afford in the limited time no perfectionism, says Wilfried Schumann, head of the Psychosocial Counseling Center of the University and Studentenwerk Oldenburg. “It is in the nature of things that the end product always acts like a temporary in the delivery.”

The psychologist encourages the students by telling them that it is “no coincidence that they made it to the end of their studies”. However, there are also students who would unconsciously bog down a job due to fears about the future. “If uncertainty and resignation take over and we have to assume that the current problems are the expression of deeper conflicts, we refer to psychotherapy for the long-term treatment of these difficulties,” says Schumann.

Due to illness or other circumstances, you can get an extension of the deadline. Also for substantive reasons such as difficulties in the empirical investigation, a postponement is possible. But that should only be the last resort.

No flutter before grading

In the subjects of mathematics or computer science are often awarded very good grades nationwide, while one is among the jurists of the king, if one reaches a “fully satisfactory”. Actually, this is not a problem if all parties involved, including future employers, know that.

The consulting firm Roland Berger takes into account that graduates of the technical universities such as the TU Munich or Karlsruhe with a grade point average of 2.5 to 3.0 in the top 30 percent, according to Julia Kemmler, Recruitment Officer at Roland Berger Europe: “For Most of the graduates are: The overall grade should not be worse than 2.4 with us.We pay very close attention to all grades since graduation – from bachelor to examination grades within the study to the master’s degree. “

No snooping in front of the economy

The benefits of working in partnership with a company are obvious: you get good support from the company and you have access to experts in the field you are working on.

Of course it’s also very good in the CV. And with the completion of the work, the contacts to any future employer are already linked: “Who writes his master’s thesis with us, is not automatically taken over. It is not a free ticket, but if you did it very well, it is quite possible, such a job after graduation “, says Thomas Degraaff, personnel consultant at the chemical company BASF.

Test anxiety during the master thesis

Asked by Ute Mewes, graduate social pedagogue at the psychosocial counseling center of the University of Applied Sciences Niederrhein.

UNICUM: Are there many students with test anxiety?

Mewes: Various studies show that the stress burden among students has increased after the introduction of bachelor’s and master’s programs. Anxiety can be a consequence of too much stress, so when “the cask overflows”, the organism can react with fear to protect itself from further overload. Examination fears have been named most frequently, as well as social phobias, anxiety and panic disorders, fears of the future and social isolation.

Which persons are more likely to suffer from this fear?

Test anxiety is fear of rating. Students who combine all or part of their value with a pending performance, no matter how many exams have passed successfully, are more likely to suffer. The experience that a failure has dramatic consequences can have a profound effect on later attitudes and self-esteem. It is different in every person.

Negative assessment experiences in childhood or adolescence, such as a pejorative education, too high demands, experiences of being teased by outsiders as outsiders, can negatively impact self-esteem. Certainly also personality characteristics have influence on the expression of a fear reaction. However, anyone can learn to cope better with stress and stressful situations, and develop appropriate self-esteem.