Under pressure

This is a sentence. And if you are reading it, it means I have miraculously managed to make another deadline. The ink is still dripping wet, so to speak – it is only thanks to the digital age that your hands are not covered with blue stains after reading.

As much as I enjoy writing, I can never quite seem to find time for it. And as much as I wish I had started way before the deadline, I always end up typing frantically with just a few hours to spare. During my studies it was a recurring problem: even – or especially – if I had weeks for an assignment, I would still cram most of the work into the last days if not hours before I had to hand it in. While fretting about why I did not start earlier I resolved to better my habits, but in the euphoria after submitting promises were easily forgotten. Yes, procrastination is my inveterate foe.

While you can easily pull an all-nighter for the average paper, a thesis is an entirely different story. I secretly admire people who are able to plan ahead, set up a schedule for writing each chapter and then actually stick to it. I mostly kept my rhetoric teacher’s pearl of wisdom in mind: ‘If you fail to plan, at least plan to fail’. This prospect eventually provided enough motivation to come up with a plan of sorts, even if it mainly consisted of doing nothing else a beautiful summer long but sitting at the computer day after day, filling page after page.

In the end, I was able to hand in my thesis just in time, despite the strong doubts whether it was ever going to happen along the way. So if you are currently struggling with yours, there is still hope. The one piece of advice I can offer is to just start with a sentence. You’ll get there in the end. Just keep typing.

Johanna Gröne (30, German) studied Health Care, Ethics & Policy at TilburgU. She works for a health insurance company and is a member of the Gemeenteraad (Tilburgs local council).

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