When I first started the thesis-writing process, I was terrified. I had no idea how I was going to write a 30-page paper on a single topic. I didn’t even know where to start. To be honest, I really didn’t want to do it. I was overwhelmed by the massiveness of the project, and I let it intimidate me to the point of paralysis. I psyched myself out and really struggled to get the ball rolling.
But once I did start working on my thesis, it wasn’t so bad. I set up a plan with a timeframe that would allow me to get the paper done in time without overworking myself. I broke the project down into steps: Find a general topic, research it, break my paper into sections, etc. I set short-term goals for myself and let myself rest once I reached my goal for the day. I kept doing that day by day, and eventually, I started to see a paper coming together.
I’m proud to say today that I am completely finished with my undergraduate senior thesis. This morning, I defended my thesis in front of my professors, which is the last step in the thesis process. I’m done! I have a completed work that I can be proud of. Looking back, it really wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. But I would have never gotten my thesis finished if I hadn’t taken that first step, and then the second, and so on.
In life, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Each of us has a lot to do, and it often feels like we have more on our plate than we can handle. We live in a society that’s so fast-paced and demanding, and yet they don’t teach us how to deal with all these demands. We’re expected to just figure it out on our own, and that isn’t easy. In fact, it’s very difficult to figure out how to do everything that’s expected of us.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I would like to share what has worked for me in my experience, and what I’ve been taught by people who know a lot more than I do about life. When I’m feeling overwhelmed or like I can’t handle everything that’s expected of me, I always try to keep one thing in mind: I can accomplish what I need to accomplish if I take it one step at a time.
It sounds so simple. Obviously, most things that are worth doing in life can’t be done in just one step. But too many times, I find myself trying to tackle a big problem all at once instead of breaking it down into its parts and working on them individually. When you look at a big project or problem as a whole, it might seem intimidating or even impossible. But if you break it down into its parts and just focus on finishing the next step, it’s much more manageable, and you’ll eventually see the whole thing starting to come together.
When I was a kid, I was taught this saying. It’s a silly saying, but there’s a lot of truth to it, and it’s something that has stuck with me: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Don’t get so caught up in the big picture that it paralyzes you. Focus on the small steps that you can take today toward getting the big picture stuff accomplished. Reward yourself when you meet your small goals and remind yourself that you’re working toward something greater. Pretty soon, that something greater is going to emerge.
Thank you guys for reading. I hope this was helpful to you. Next week will be my last week blogging from Hendrix. I’m hoping to do some more planned-out blog posts this summer and maybe even a series or two! So be looking out for that, and remember: Take everything one step at a time.