First, I found more positive than negative aspects: I did not have to wake up early, waste my time travelling to the university and back, and could attend lectures and seminars while lying in bed. You only need to be there at the beginning of the class and say “Hello, I am here”, and then you can tend to your business while the lecture is going on.
The fourth year, the year of graduation, began. We continued studying online. That year we had a lot of interesting and creative projects, but the volume of homework increased too, so we had to work many hours on our laptops and meet the deadlines.
The entire process of writing my thesis was held online, which is why I often experienced communication problems. For example, at the university you can easily meet a lecturer and ask him or her your questions, while everything is different when you study online. You have to write to your thesis advisor, wait for a reply and, if no reply is received, send your message several times and wait for the reply again. Sometimes, this took several days. In general, we received any information relating to theses with big delays.
When I say ‘fear’, I mean unreliable facts. For example, we found out about the thesis proposal defence two days before the date. They said that if we failed to upload our thesis in time, we would not be admitted to the thesis defence. During those two days, we turned into kind of “Sonic the Hedgehog” to complete everything in time. We could think of nothing but the forthcoming thesis proposal defence and this caused terrible stress. This was only to find out that... the thesis proposal defence was cancelled. By the way, I wrote my thesis in one month and a half, but I had to stay up late, search for needed information, consult with friends and revise the text which I already knew by heart. What annoyed me most was the lack of any clear instructions about the contents and format of the thesis. Due to this lecturers returned my thesis back each time with more remarks.
Writing a thesis is already terra incognita, and it becomes even more challenging during pandemics. I would compare this process with a game with unknown rules. You are the main character who receives hints from time to time. Together with your allies – friends and group mates – you move towards your ultimate goal.
As for the thesis defence, I spent little time preparing for it. One day before the defence, I prepared a presentation and rehearsed my speech several times. On the night of the defence, I thought that everything would end tomorrow and I would finally get good rest.
I woke up in the morning with a determination to accept the inevitable. I opened my presentation, checked if everything operated normally in my laptop and raised my morale. Everything was OK until it was my turn to defend. As by Murphy’s law, I had problems with sound and could not share my screen. I understand that this was partially my fault, but this could happen to anyone.
You know, it is strange to realise that I am no longer a student. This means adulthood, and honestly, I like it. Online study was too stressful. And when my relatives ask if I wish to continue postgraduate education, my answer is a definite no. I think I’d better have some rest.
Данный проект реализуется с помощью гранта от Посольства США в Нур-Султане, Казахстан. Мнения, выраженные в материалах, принадлежат их авторам и не обязательно отражают точку зрения Правительства США или Дипломатической Миссии США в Казахстане.