Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

MA thesis report



I've been struggling with this master since it started. Somehow i managed to finish the first year and a half. However, now that I have 4 months to graduate I still have no thesis. Or half of it. Or a quarter. I've made up so many excuses to my advisor about why nothing is ready since the last 6 months that I honestly ran out of things I can make up at this point now. Right now i'm hopeless. A new deadline is today. And i haven't written anything for the whole semester. As this last term is self-paced, nobody knows how behind I am, and my advisor thinks i'm just editing chapters when I actually have none written. I'm not very enthusiastic about my topic and I recently discovered that the subject of the master (history) is not my vocation. I actually plan to change career paths as soon as I graduate, to be able to study another master in the field I really want (which I didn't know before I enrolled in this master). I guess all that makes it harder to be done.I can't drop because of a number of reasons. The point is, somehow i NEED to finish this master in 4 months, so basically I need to have a full draft in like 1 or 2 months at the latest. I do have my primary sources and some basic bibliography, but I just can't sit down and write. It's incredible how much resistance I feel even for 5 minutes. I guess panick is making me frozen. I try not to feel so hopeless, but sometimes is just so hard after the pattern keeps repeating itself every single day for the last 4 o 5 months. My advisor is waiting for a chapter at least for tomorrow, and honestly, I only have like 2 pages, out of like 20 something I should have written by now. So, it's unrealistic to think I'm going to finish one chapter in one or two days.I guess I should just practice acceptance. My advisor needs my writing to be able to grade me. So if I this weekend I send only let's say, 10 pages, I'm not sure if I'll pass this term. There's nothing else I can do besides writing whatever I am able to in the time given. I think I need to repeat myself that several times the following hours. And write it down. So that's why I posted this here. Somehow, I'm hoping it helps...

I have so been there

Wow, I can really relate to your post. I did the same thing for my Masters degree I was pursuing that I wasn't excited about. Writing papers was agony, much less a dissertation. I put everything off until the possibility of getting it done was nearly hopeless. I was in hell. I really, really can relate.

This was over a decade ago, but since then, I have learned a few things. First, I hear panic in your voice. I had the same panic. I know what it feels like. But you hit the nail on the head --- acceptance. The situation is what is right now, and if we keep worrying about the past or the future, we are not in the present moment, and probably too stressed out and panicked to focus. And also (I found out the hard way), no matter what happens, it is going to be ok. The world is not going to come to an end regardless of what happens. I know it is hard to see now, but you will get through this. I did the same thing as you, excuse after excuse with my professors. Finally, I got fed up and told them the truth of the situation -- the fact that I was blocked and panicked and basically dysfunctional under all of the stress. I knew they might possibly flunk me, but I was so stressed out, I couldn't take it anymore. In the end, my professors were all very understanding. One even gave me extra *months* to finish one of my mega papers (I was studying Literature). More importantly, I felt so much better telling the truth and not making flimsy excuses anymore. I am not perfect, and I acknowledged it. I was having a lot of trouble, as every human being does. I tore myself up so much about it all. In the end, I completed my MA degree, but got declined from the PhD program. I felt utterly humiliated because I was one of the few in the MA program who didn't get into the PhD program. I berated myself for years. But guess what. I was the same as you. I HATED studying literature, but it took me studying for my Masters to figure that out. When I got rejected from the PhD program, I wound up following a different path -- tech. Now I'm in a really, really good job that I really like, it pays extremely well, and everything is so much better.

I'm not saying you should do what I did. Not at all. Do what you feel is right for you. I'm just saying that if I had to do it all over again (God forbid!), I would be MUCH easier on myself. Hey, I am definitely NOT perfect, and guess what -- that is OK. 

Take a deep breath, and be kind to yourself for a minute. Stop punishing yourself. One way or another, you will get through this and life will go on. Failures are only failures if you label them so.

I wish I could take your pain away because your post brings it all back to me. I will pray for you. 

coming clean

there have been several discussions about what to tell others about our disease and whether to do that and when to do that and how to actually describe it. I have discussed with my bosses issues of "focus" and it has been helpful.

But like the way you put it:

>blocked and panicked and basically dysfunctional under all of the stress

i think that might be useful for me, maybe others, because it seems pretty accurate and phrased in a way that a "normal" person could understand.


the touch of the master's hand:

fall down seven times, get up eight - japanese proverb



I "hear" you.

Sometimes what helps me when in that place (which by the way, I am again now) is instead of the roller coaster in my mind saying "The point is, somehow i NEED....1,2,3, ....)

I tell myself, I need to "start my next action" chatbox helps, going there now, like a virtual "coach". Hope it can help you too.

re: an4ever

sending prayers, strength, peace and positive thoughts your way. I have been there, and it sux. But i wish you the best from this hour forward.

the touch of the master's hand:

fall down seven times, get up eight - japanese proverb