Many students have been struggling with their uni work since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. What’s more, many of those students had to get through writing their bachelor thesis and defending their dissertation. But is completing your degree really that different during a time like this? To get more information, I talked to two students about their view on the effect of the global pandemic as well as possibilities and tips to write your bachelor thesis. 

Daja Godbersen is a 23 year old Student at FH Kiel, she studied Multimedia Production for seven semesters and finished her bachelor thesis in February 2021. Anna Nagl is also a Multimedia Production student at FH Kiel. She is currently working on writing her Bachelor Thesis and is planning on finishing it at the end of September this year. Both of them had to work and study through the global pandemic, which made things a lot more difficult than they expected.

Anna Nagl working on her thesis

What was/is the most annoying part about writing your thesis during a global pandemic?

D: For me, writing a thesis was associated with a lot of pressure. I had high expectations of myself, but due to the pandemic, there were hardly any ways to distract myself from it. I had limited contact with my friends, and I was concerned about what the next few months would be like. I wrote my thesis in winter, at a time when the measures were very tough. So, every day looked the same: Get up, go to the desk, drink coffee, work on the thesis, and go to sleep. In the end, I would say that the worst part was social isolation.

A: For me personally, it’s very hard to work from home all the time. Typically, students’ apartments tend to be only one room that you got to yourself, which is your bedroom. You can’t really separate your workplace from your safe space at home and there’s no clear boundary anymore. I feel like it’s sometimes hard to focus working from home since I get distracted very easily, which makes it hard for me to stay motivated sometimes. 

Do you think you had/have any major disadvantages in comparison to other students who wrote their thesis before the pandemic?

D: The literature work was difficult and more restricted than usual due to the closed libraries. In addition, it was not possible to exchange information with other students on a regular basis.

A: I think it’s very hard to not be in personal contact with your supervising professor. You can only talk to them via Zoom or Skype, but for me personally, I would rather have face-to-face conversations to really get the feedback I need to continue writing my thesis. 

What’s something positive you can think of that’s good about writing your thesis during the pandemic?

D: A positive aspect was, having time for myself. No distractions due to social events like parties. Therefore, no excuses for not working on the thesis.

A: There’s so much more information and literature online since the beginning of the pandemic. A lot of books and articles you don’t have to get through any type of “Fernleihe” anymore so you don’t have to wait until you can use those things for research. You can simply find a lot of important books online (that always depends on the topic you’re writing your thesis on, though). 

What’s something positive you can think of that’s good about writing your thesis during the pandemic?

D: You should create a routine and try to stick to it. It can be things like taking a shower every morning or drinking your coffee for half an hour every morning. Routines like this helped me to stay structured despite the lack of structure. In addition, small milestones are helpful to be aware of what you have already achieved.

A: One of the most important tips, I tell myself everyday too, is that you should really take your time to work on your thesis. Even if it’s a stressful and new situation, always try to keep yourself as motivated as possible but don’t stress out too much. Maybe look for someone else who’s also in a similar situation as you, talk to them or meet up (corona safely) to work together, each on their own project/thesis. Always keep in mind though, that some days you might be a little more productive, while on other days you find yourself having no motivation at all. And that’s absolutely okay, your body and brain also need rest in-between. 

How did/do you keep yourself motivated?

D: I was not motivated to be honest. But the deadline scared me.

A: I keep myself motivated by knowing exactly what’s waiting for me after finishing my thesis. It’s a big help to know that after this last big hurdle, I can hold my bachelor’s degree in my hands and be proud of myself. It also helps finding someone, as I said before, in a similar situation to motivate each other and be productive together. 

One last thing you would like to add?

D: It is important to integrate other nice things into your everyday life and to recognize which work is fun in relation to the thesis. I noticed how exciting my topic was and I was happy to learn new things about it. And if you get stuck, it helps to clear your mind, do sports or meet friends. I kept asking my friends for their opinion on topics in order to gain new perspectives. And three months are over really quick.

A: Always keep in mind that your bachelor thesis is not your PhD. Even if it might seem impossible right now, I know you can do it. And afterwards, you’ll be able to be extremely proud of yourself. 

In conclusion, writing your bachelor thesis is hard and scary either way. However, trying to keep a little routine in your day, talking to friends and doing self-care in-between by giving your mind and body a rest every once in a while, is very important. Don’t stress yourself out too much. Three months of hard work will pay off and in the end you’ll be able to be extremely proud of yourself.