Friday, 11 March 2016

Napoleonic problems: Little people with big ideas.

Hello there! I hope you are enjoying (Yes, I actually believe it is possible) this last weeks of the Master. Trust me, one day you will look back and think those were the good old days. But since we are living now, I am guessing nostalgia has not really kicked in just yet…

Either way, on the 'News Corner' I am happy to announce that one group paper and one presentation has gone by, and even though there are some adjustments to be done, we can say we are almost done. Next week we hand in another draft for our second subject, and really the anxiety is in the air, as many of us are thinking when exactly am I going to write my thesis? Should I wait to the semester is over? Past the exams? Could I do it in a month? Who am I?

After having my first peer group meeting I have come to one conclusion: We are all in this together, and we are all fighting little battle. Each have a different style and approach to their topics, so, this is why I have elaborated some ‘characters’ in my mind that portray the different stages and situations in which students may be going through. Personally, I suffer what I like to call ‘Alexander the Great problem’: I have a good idea, but it can become too broad, and if I am not careful I could even become queen of Persia, Babylon and Asia. There are also Bohr and Rutherford problems: Maybe you have a very specific topic, (perhaps you want to provide a different interpretation or definition) When this happens, working with details can be exhausting and confusing, so why don’t you step a few steps back when you feel lost? Sometimes getting the whole picture can help finding your way.

Of course, we are all going through a Darwinian struggle: Only the fittest of ideas will survive. This is exactly what we should be doing with our thoughts, put them on a test: Write them down, compare them, analyse their strengths and weaknesses, stretch them, narrow them and then choose your way into your topic. Peer groups are a very good idea, by now you know your classmates well enough, and you know who can you work with better, so consult with each other, get opinions, help each other. Be the Beatles before Yoko.

All you need is a thesis, and pass your exams. Sun is shining. This small grain of sand in the universe will say good bye (for now).

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