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Tag Archives: Master thesis

What I learned in the past three months

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been three months since I wrote my last entry. Originally, I pledged to write at least once a month… please accept my apologies …

So what did I do?

  • I really focused on finishing my thesis to the point that I now can’t even look at it without contempt anymore. I really really hate it by now. I guess and hope that this is normal. The thing is, I still have to do a presentation and an oral examination. Only then I’m done. I dream of some kind of fire ritual to burn my thesis and clean my brain ๐Ÿ˜‰ I know, stupid, but it helps to read it for the 120th time…
  • I’ve chosen the worst possible guy to proofread my thesis. At first he hit on me although he’s twice my age and now he has let me down and needed a month for a whole of 30 pages. Please don’t judge. I thought he was professional. At least the work he did on my 30 pages is good ๐Ÿ˜‰ Well, live and learn… Let’s hope the next one is more reliable.
  • I’ve been to every professor and secretary available at our institute to get the enormous amount of signatures to even hand in the thesis. Tracking down the guy who’s always out having his breakfast/brunch/lunch/dinner is pretty much impossible …
  • I’ve had about 3-5 (maybe more like 5-10) nervous crying fits when something went wrong with my thesis. I’ve pledged to let my boyfriend have his when he will write his own thesis.
  • My computer “died” at the appropriate time, just when I was doing my literature list. I guess the thesis wore the computer down too … Of course, that prompted another crying fit. Luckily, I obey to the golden rule of backup, backup, backup and I only had to redo an hour. But still, that hour sucked! Badly!

    via cartoonstock.com

  • One of my uncles died and now it came out that he has another “secret daughter”. What is it with all those family secrets?! This was that uncle’s favourite saying, which I really liked:

Ohne Arbeit frรผh bis spรคt kann dir nichts geraten,

Neid sieht nur das Blumenbeet, aber nicht den Spaten.

Roughly translated (and very poorly, please forgive me … this saying means: Without work from dust till dawn, you will achieve nothing. Envy only sees the flower bed, but not the spade. (I’m sure there is some equivalent in English that I don’t know of …)

His children may not enjoy his lifetime’s work now because they have to share with another unknown sibling. So remember, if you have any secret children, make sure to tell the children you live with ahead of your death what awaits them!

  • I still feel bad because of my dad sometimes. But lately, I just tell people straight away that he’s gone to get it out of the way when they ask. And last time, a girl forgot that I had told her that he is dead and asked me what my mom or my dad think of something. That was pretty disturbing. I didn’t feel too troubled about it, but I think I need to readjust my strategy. What proofed to be successful in your experience to get the point across that someone’s dead?!
  • Somebody broke into our home last week. We thought that our apartment looks so crappy nobody would bother to even do that. Besides, Vienna is pretty safe. And we don’t live in a posh neighborhood. Apparently, that is no security. Mr. Burglar (it must have been a guy considering the things he’s stolen) stole the hard-safed money from my boyfriend, his PSP and, strangely enough, his brand new running shoes. Mr. Burglar has taste. He didn’t take my Nintendo DS, the Wii, or my boyfriend’s 10-year old running shoes that were standing next to the new ones. My boyfriend’s actually more pissed that his progress at GTA has gone to waste than about the money. And with the shoes, it’s getting personal

    via cartoonstock.com

  • Naturally, nobody told us that this apartment has been broken into two times already. Would have been nice if somebody advised us to change the lock when we were so stupid not to do it. So, I’ve learned the lesson that even the crappiest apartment is a target for burglars.
  • Me and my boyfriend actually bought the running shoes together and we used to merrily run alongside, like a cheesy couple. I liked it. Now Mr. Burglar has taken away that too, because it doesn’t have the same feel to it when I have my shiny new shoes while he has to run in his crappy old ones. That guy is so mean!
  • The secretary I wrote about inย this and this post is already shining in its new glory, courtesy of my cousin. Pictures will follow in a next post ๐Ÿ™‚ It was the right decision to give it to her!
  • Speaking of which, we’ve found a guy who’s willing to rent my grandmother’s house, but only for a very small amount of money. On top of all, I have to prepare myself for grueling negotiations over the weekend. It gets tiring, really.
  • I’ve watched a ton of Korean Dramas in these past months. Those are the best to keep your thoughts away and just turn off your brain. So if you have a hard time with something, I can give you a list of the most perfect “braindead” dramas that there are …Of course, this is also a way not to forget my Korean, even if it’s Drama-speech … so it’s a win-win ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Korean Dramas are also a perfect way to win new friends. There’s nothing like swooning over a guy with other girls. I’m currently in the “courtship” phase with a girl that wants to be my friend (yay ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) We will meet up to watch dramas, eat and drink. Another win-win ๐Ÿ™‚

    via cartoonstock.com

  • Speaking of drinking, I learned a few new drinking games, most of them from Korea. I’ve already established in that post that Koreans have a thriving drinking culture. It’s a funny contrast to us Austrians, who only sit together getting wasted while talking.
  • I found out that my English is pretty bad, so please don’t hesitate to point out any mistakes I make! Really!!
  • My family has lost all hope that I’ll ever graduate anymore. I lost hope that it still happens this year. I guess subconsciously I really put it off so not to get to the next stage, which is unemployment ๐Ÿ˜‰ Oh my…

So, that is a tiny fraction of what I did. Even if it’s pathetic, I hope you enjoyed ๐Ÿ˜‰

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The missing piece in my resume

picture via hs-heilbronn.de

Since I’m almost finished writing my thesis, the topic of what I should do next is coming up every so often. In a few months, my “student” status will have expired and then I have to face the tough “real” world. My plan is to just quietly apply for jobs and quietly getting rejections. I am normally very optimistic and don’t worry that much, but whenever people talk to me about it, I brood for days on end. The reason I am brooding is that I am afraid of the job market because I think I have no qualifications whatsoever and I never did an internship. This is basically the kiss of death for a 26 year old first-time job seeker. People happily point that out to me. What annoys me is that nobody makes suggestions how to succeed despite this flaw. I cannot change it anymore, so why people persist on dwelling on this point so much is beyond me. I am also not immune to taking pleasure in others’ misfortune sometimes. But it is annoying. Well, maybe I can take comfort in that it helps other people feeling less inadequate and better prepared for the job market through me ๐Ÿ˜‰

The thing is, I never worked. I had two summer jobs once. One was in the summer of 2003, the other in the summer of 2004. Then my dad died. Most people assume that I am a lazy person just riding on my mom’s money because I didn’t work afterwards anymore. And in a way that is true. But the reality is, I didn’t even dare to do an internship during my holidays after that. Because holidays meant I had to go home and help my mom. If my mom’s house were in the city, it would have been no problem to do an internship and help her out at the same time. But since my family lives on the countryside, far away from any city, far away from anything really, I didn’t have the opportunity to do it both. I don’t like to explain myself when I am accused of doing nothing. But yesterday, when a girl suggested I am “the worst” because I never worked in a joking manner, I replied that my mom preferred me helping her with my grandma instead of working on my career. My grandma is almost blind and she cannot walk very well anymore. This has been getting worse over the years. She needs help 24/7 and my mom is by her side the whole year round. Everybody who cares for older people knows how exhausting this can be. My mom doesn’t complain and she just gracefully accepts the situation. She deserves a medal and I am always amazed at how patient she is! Naturally, when I am at home she takes every opportunity to get out, meeting up with friends, going to exhibitions and so on. There are no other people whom she can call to help her out. It’s basically just me and my mom. Nowadays I’m very guilt-ridden since I don’t help her out that much anymore.

image via squidoo.com

So yesterday, when I said that the reason for not doing “anything” was to help out my mom, I was met with embarrassed silence. Did I overburden them with private family matters? Nowadays nobody wants to hear of the sick and the old, but I didn’t say that to gain sympathy. I just stated the facts. The reaction irritated me. I don’t know why they were embarrassed and it still bugs me that they reacted that way. Since I was too stunned I couldn’t react properly and the topic changed very quickly. I take it that they either pity me, feel sorry for me, think of their grandparents, think of my decision to put my grandma before my career as stupid or just don’t know how to handle someone actually having a grandma at home. I really don’t know. If they pity me, I think it very strange. Yeah, my grandma is very annoying if you don’t tend to her the minute she wants something. There were times when it was exhausting and frightening to be alone with her when she was sick and I didn’t know what to do to the point of pitying myself. But she is very lively for her age. While she remembers stuff she did on a particular day, let’s say, in 1942, I cannot for the life of me remember the stuff I did yesterday properly.ย  What amazes me the most is that even though she already told me stories on every possible subject and on every possible stage of her life, every time I visit she still knows a new story I never heard of. Through her I get to know every family member in every possible way. She tells me stuff nobody else would dare to tell me, juicy family secrets and the like. I discover things through her stories which I would have never known. There are new stories every time and I even hear new things about my dad from time to time. I love that! It’s astonishing. Listening to her is like a live-cast of history. To conclude this, it’s not a burden to care for her.

I think the reaction annoys me that much because I got a taste of my future job interviews. When future employers will ask me about the missing spots in my resume, I will have to tell them the same. And because I didn’t even think about such strange reactions, I never thought about my “holiday work” as a problem. Since this was what I got, I am more afraid of strange feedback than ever. I cannot process their reaction, don’t know what it’s about and don’t know how to cope with it. And most of all, I don’t know how to make such situations less awkward. Let’s just hope nobody asks ๐Ÿ˜‰

Easter gossip

Easter holiday. Visiting my mom. Going to church and almost dying of boredom. Eating way too much chocolate. Seeing people I haven’t seen in a while and getting sentimental.

The only funny thing while sitting in church was the priest grumbling at his altar boys and girls (not even my splendid service I did as a kid could change his character, bless his heart) and my mom pointing out to a former student of hers sitting in front of us where we are in the church song book. The former student surely was thrilled getting instructions from my mom years after leaving school ๐Ÿ™‚ It seems like you can get the teacher out of school, but the school doesn’t leave the teacher…or something like that.

It is almost always the same when it’s time to visit my family. Since it’s always the same old, you know what to expect and I’m cool with that. But this time, my grandma was agitated when her brother pointed out to her that I wasn’t featured in the yearly report of the area in the section of people graduating or accomplishing something else in their life. Because of him, she now worries that the whole township is gossiping about me and my eternal studies and living off of my mom’s money. “If he is already talking about this to me, imagine what other people are saying!” she cried out to me! THE horror!! My grandma is deeply concerned about the reputation of my family ๐Ÿ˜‰ She surely imagines people whispering behind her back: “You know how their girl studies until she’s thirty and still won’t get anything done.” Or: “You know, I was told that someone saw her there and there sipping cocktails/buying expensive clothes/eating in a fancy restaurant. The nerve of that girl when she didn’t even earn her own money yet.” Or “My child is working ten years already while this kid just lives her life without any concern for the community she lives in!” And surely she imagines them discrediting my upbringing: “Boy did they do a job on that girl!” Or “Boy, what could they have done to deserve such a slouch of a girl.” I was very amused, but when the neighbor started to ask me the same questions my grandma was worried about, I started to wonder, is my grandma on to something here? Do you only get a pass in your early 20s, but when you reach 25 without a degree, people get suspicious? Even a friend of mine who normally isn’t interested in anything I’m doing sat there expecting answers from me. And the questions kept going on when I was going out. It’s exhausting. “How is your thesis going?”, “What’s the topic of your thesis?”, “When are you planning on handing in your thesis?”, “When are you finally finished with your studies?”, “How do we call you then?” (In a country like Austria where titles are the ticket to being worshiped this is exceedingly important to ask!), “What are you planning on doing then?”, “You surely start working there or there, right?”ย  Blablabla…ย  Scary! Especially because I don’t know a good answer to any of these questions. And especially because I dread the time when I really graduate more than anyone else and I am profoundly dreading the time searching for jobs when I don’t have any hope of finding a decent one.

Now I returned to my little haven in the city with no gossip and no one is interested in my studies! What relief ๐Ÿ˜‰ But not for long, Mother’s Day is around the corner. I wonder what the next visit will bring…

The case of the forgotten memory stick

I wouldn't forget that one would I ๐Ÿ˜‰ image via thisnext.com

Last week, my boyfriend treated me to a brand new 16 GB memory stick in modest black. Since my old one was always full having only 1 GB of storage (donโ€™t ask, it was 2006 and then it was really expensive) I was in dire need of a new one and was very happy with my new shiny blank stick, I even engraved the first letter of my name in it ๐Ÿ˜‰

That’s when I took it to a little ride to the library, where browsing through academic journals I stored some articles as well as parts of my little thesis project. And then in the evening, when writing something and a very important thought entered my head, the stick came up again. “Wasn’t there something important today that I read that I can include in my text…” I thought and grabbed my backpack where suddenly I couldn’t find my little new stick…Then it began to dawn on me that I might have forgotten to take it out of the library computer and then I felt really really stupid…Of course I back upped my work. Tales of infecting the computer with some terrible kind of virus while downloading some random shareware when writing page 92 of one’s dissertation have taught me enough not to do that kind of thing and be safe. The golden rule is: backup, backup, backup.

I always feel like โ€žthat can never happen to meโ€œ, โ€žhow can someone be that stupidโ€œ and have other self-righteous thoughts that bit me in the ass that day. That could be another life lesson. Never be self-righteous! I know that it is not good for you, but sometimes you cannot help. And in those few moments where you cannot help yourself but to feel that way, I can guarantee you that in the next moment it happens to you. Which is kind of terrifying since yesterday, when told the story of a girl my age becoming pregnant โ€žby accidentโ€œ, I also had those thoughts. Ok, admittedly they were not self-righteous, more terrified and pitying the girl, but I still am slightly anxious nowโ€ฆ.please spare me!

Feeling sorry but also kind of superior when people hang up messages searching for their memory stick or post somewhere that they forgot their memory stick in the library pc and now are on the brink of desperation because their dissertation outline, research history, pictures of their childhood with grandma, who is now dead (ok I feel very sorry for that, but still it is kind of stupid to not backup this precious memory) and other things are stored on that particular stick. The chance of getting it back is always very slim.

image via internetslol.com

Considering mine is brand new and nothing special was stored on it, I honestly was only pissed at myself and wouldn’t even have cared if somebody took it. My bf, who is always very pessimistic, just laughed and didn’t have any hope at all that I would get it back, lamenting about the lack of “sister/brotherhood” or general moral in students. Even if I was pissed I didn’t care too much because I had the strange feeling of getting it back. I am the positive one here. And the next day I made the library journey again very early, and after telling the nice library lady my little mishap she immediately handed my stick back to me. So there still are wonderful, responsible students full of moral, who think about the sad student searching frantically for his/her memory stick and cursing the world. I am really thankful to that person! My bf doesn’t understand the world anymore…there are still nice and friendly people? What is this world coming to?

Still I feel slightly stupid for having forgotten to take the stick with me and now I have learned my lesson. I feel kind of knighted. Now that I have experienced the terror of losing some special โ€žworkโ€œ, (that I have backupped of course, but stillโ€ฆ) I can lean back and enjoy the ride.

P.S.: Apparently this is not an isolated matter and tales of forgotten memory sticks are just as random as lost hairpins…there’s a hilarious video on youtube encouraging students to use microsoft office live workspace so that a lost memory stick doesn’t shatter your world.

Are new parents basically superhumans?

Yesterday, while browsing the university website, I discovered a new graduate and was quite astonished. Last summer, we did the master colloquium together where we had to hand in a first draft of the thesis and basically learned how to start. Since I still am only motivated by fear, which obviously doesn’t help, I now have more fear than ever. Or maybe her graduating does motivate me, I haven’t decided yet.

What astonished me is the fact that she very quickly handed in her thesis despite being a mother. Yes, she has a baby, and another on the way judging by her appearance when I last saw her. (I hope I am right, but she is very thin normally, so she must have been pregnant…this is all very confusing for someone who doesn’t even notice someone putting on 10 kilos…but I think I am right…) I don’t know her properly, but I always admired her. She seemed to juggle it all so easily and it cannot be that easy. Her parents don’t live in Vienna like she has to for her studies and I even think that her boyfriend is not even in Austria because he probably has to finish his studies in his country. They are still very young and it must be very hard.

She brought the baby to a few classes and couldn’t stay when it whined or wanted out or something. It must have been very difficult and I think she missed a lot of classes because of it. Naturally, the professors had to be very tolerant, which they were. I think one feature of our professor helped her a lot, which was taping a few of the classes so you could stay at home. Maybe this seems backwards that we don’t have this around here as a given, but sadly it is not. Our professor is considered to be very innovative around here.

image via blogs.glam.com/glambuzz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, my question is now, are mothers more productive? When the baby sleeps, do they have the sudden urge to take care of everything they cannot do when the baby is awake? Do they squeeze every little work in the one hour the baby sleeps? And when the baby sleeps two hours surprisingly, can they accomplish even more? Do they just live on the baby’s charm and personality to bring them through the day or is the baby smell the equivalent of spinach for Popeye? Can mothers survive on two hours of sleep a day? Do they think of something like “I have to accomplish this before the baby starts to walk”? Do they have the feeling of having to accomplish something before the baby can question their laziness or something? Do they fear the questions of the baby when it starts to talk, like “Mummy, why are you still in college?” or something?

And those questions also count for fathers. Case in point is that we only have three graduates so far, two of them being parents. The other graduate just recently became a father and also graduated quite quickly.

It really is a mystery to me! Maybe I have to look after a baby to get the same energy drive. Are babies the new red bull? This would really be worth exploring in another thesis ๐Ÿ˜‰

Maybe I can accomplish it?!

My "brilliant" brain ๐Ÿ˜‰ image via kleinzeitung.at

Today I wrote three pages at once which is the most I wrote in the history of writing my little thesis. I even came up with a few questions that, to me at least, seem to be great. Without wanting to speak to soon – I hope I am onto something here. Maybe it “clicked” finally ๐Ÿ˜‰

Fresh Start!

Since I “procrastinated” my way through three months of summer vacation, it seems to be time to start afresh and with a little bit of pressure… It is very frightening to think about the time after graduation and the terrifying thought of being thrown into the “working world” which I still cannot grasp. But it is very childish to hold on to the thought of studying forever only because I am afraid of never finding a job… I will never know if I do not graduate… I need to finish my master thesis in April of 2011, not only for my sanity but also for the sanity and monetary health of my mother… My wish was to graduate at 25… It would be my personal failure to turn 26 without finishing anything substantial in my life. April gives me a buffer of one month, and I really hope must pull it off! Starting tomorrow I will begin to research, read, write and think “academically”, and this time for real! So let the journey begin!

Image:http://www.aerionmiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/procrastination2.jpg