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The Scout survival guide to mastering your thesis and research


After going through a series of college horrors, the dreaded day has finally come: It’s time to start writing your thesis.

Digesting the basics of a thesis journey can’t be done right off the bat. In fact, no formula or amount of manifestations can turn this phase into non-rocket science. We don’t mean to spoil you, but someone like Ely Buendia (Alexa, play “Ligaya”) won’t be around to help out with your thesis. Unfortunately.

So if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need some genuine advice to get started, allow us to help you out. Here, the Scout team lists some tried-and-tested tips on how you can survive (and also have fun throughout) your thesis journey. Feel free to revisit this in case you missed a hack.

  • We’re usually advised to work on a topic close to our hearts. But if you don’t think that works for you, here’s something else: Pick one you don’t particularly feel attached to but are curious about nonetheless. This can ease off a bit of pressure, and the sense of discovery could, hopefully, motivate you. 
  • No groupmates? If you’re required to work on your thesis on your own (like I was), you have to be friends with your topic. Choose one that you’d be willing to a.) stay up late for; b.) fixate on for a couple of months; c.) and grow (with) despite challenges. Better yet, choose one that’s aligned with your values and/or personal advocacy. 
  • If possible, prepare plan Bs. A second topic in case the first suddenly isn’t feasible, a backup voice recorder in case interview files get corrupted, or other libraries to visit if ever you don’t get satisfied with your RRL immediately. 
  • Balancing your majors with your thesis (and your life) can be an extreme sport, but don’t neglect yourself in the process. Drink vitamins, catch up on sleep, eat well, spend time with circles outside school, and zone out every now and then. How can you function if you’re not physically and mentally okay?
  • Once you’re done writing, try to reread and edit it as if you’re the thesis adviser, a panelist, or someone who’s just curious to read your study. Using different POVs would help you spot gaps or loopholes. 

– Jelou Galang, Associate Editor and Brand Engagement Lead

  • Be super specific with your thesis title. You know how K-pop stans congratulate their faves for being the “fastest non-Big 3 fourth generation boy group to reach 50,000 pre-orders on a mini album in April 2023?” Yeah, that level of specificity.
  • Narrow down your scope of study to a certain extent—maybe target a smaller demographic, choose a specific time period, or focus on a particular aspect of your topic. Trust me, this will make your data gathering and interpretation much easier (and prevent you from drowning in a sea of irrelevant information).
  • Good food is key to lenient panelists to good brain function. So, make sure to stock up on some brain-boosting snacks like berries, nuts, and dark chocolate during your thesis writing marathon. And don’t forget to hydrate with lots of water… or coffee, if that’s your jam.

– Kleo Catienza, Junior Content Creator

  • Aim for relevance. We’ve been hardwired to believe that our thesis is a ticket to our graduation—technically, yes, but don’t treat your thesis as just an academic requirement to be fulfilled. We do research to make a significant change to the specific matter we are trying to prove. Go for a topic that will speak the truth about issues; explore problems that are less talked about (e.g. women’s issues, the struggles of the LGBTQIA+ community, children’s rights, etc.).
  • Some professors have hectic schedules, hence all the rushed and canceled meetings. To maximize your consultation, list down all your questions and concerns ahead of time. Record your whole meeting, if allowed, so you won’t miss any details.
  • Right now, you may be questioning yourself about what essence your soon-to-be-bound study can add to your life. Allow us to break this down for you: Your thesis is tangible proof of your college magnum opus. Each page will be a flashback of your hardships—from finding the right respondents and pulling an all-nighter for your RRL to saving endless finalfinal.docx files and surpassing that defense. The thesis is just the beginning. But if you pull it off, for sure, you can get through any problems in life too.
  • Ctrl/Command + S is the best hack. Always make sure to save copies of your thesis files so you won’t start again from scratch.

– Justine Rey, Junior Content Creator

  • “You have to accept that not everyone in the group will contribute as much as the others.” Take this advice from my former thesis adviser who remarked this the moment we met.
  • Don’t overdo the caffeine intake you think you can handle.
  • Assign two or three members as the main writers for your whole thesis so the overall writing style and tone are cohesive. 
  • Be extra in finding studies for your RRL. When you think you already have enough, you probably need more.
  • When defending your study, always remember that you are the ones who know more about your thesis… unless you just freeloaded. (Being a freeloader isn’t cool, buddy.)

– Yel Sayo, Designer

  • Never cram your RRL, even your thesis paper in general. Thesis can’t be done overnight like oats.
  • Good rest is essential, otherwise your brain won’t be braining. Don’t forget to take breaks in between.
  • Prioritize your thesis adviser’s revisions. You can overhaul your research after applying their edits.
  • Don’t be shy about asking your friends, classmates, teachers, family, or relatives regarding your thesis paper. Sometimes, they have more connections with people who are knowledgeable about the background of your research. 

– Mikey Yabut, Multimedia Artist

Read more:

Need thesis resources? The National Library has ’em online for free

So, should you take a break after your college graduation?

Shifting courses and why it’s totally okay

Art banner by Yel Sayo



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