Thesis: Scary or Exciting?

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SUMMARY: Second year graduate student in the Adult Education/Human Resource Development program, Mohamed Serry shares his feelings toward beginning his thesis project.

I am now in my third semester. I have started to work on my master’s thesis.

This process is a bit challenging.

The process begins with deciding on a topic about which I am passionate. I need a topic that I will work on for the next two semesters. I need a topic that will motivate me until I graduate. After this, I’m going to have to find and read many previously published articles about the topic, decide what methodology I want to use, and submit the proposal to my thesis committee. If they approve, I will submit the proposal to the Institutional Review Board and also get their approval. All this before I begin to collect and interpret data and write my thesis.

This is overwhelming! But I have to just dive in!

I had to start by picking an interesting topic. Luckily I already had a topic in mind!

I think it is important to integrate humor into learning and development; humor facilitates learning. This was my general topic idea, but my thesis topic needed to be more specific.

I decided to explore how adult education practitioners use humor in their work. I also want to create a resource that would help practitioners better use humor in their work.

When I presented my idea to my advisor, he told me that this was too ambitious for a master’s thesis. After some conversation, he suggested that I explore the use of humor in learning for my thesis, and save the humor instruction manual for the future, either when I am a doctoral student or a practitioner in the field. Time will tell!

OK. Now I have my project idea. Step one is complete, but there is so much more to be done!

I started to feel anxiety again about everything I needed to do. Meeting my committee helped me cope with this huge project. One of my committee members said “this committee is not here to challenge you, we are here to guide and help you to work on a project that you are passionate about. It is better to see this as an opportunity than a challenge”.

As I am thinking about it now, yes, the thesis is challenging, overwhelming, and scary. However, we rarely get the opportunity to work on a project in our chosen field of study, that is directed by our personal passion and motivation, and supported by experts.

As I continue, I will try to keep the end goal in mind. I will try to enjoy the process despite the extreme challenge. One of my supervisors put it this way: “The process of completing your thesis project will reset your limits, making it possible for you to do things in the future that are beyond what you previously thought you could accomplish.”

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Published: Thursday, November 17, 2022

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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