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Grad students: Beat the writing blues

By Daniella Snyder

I’m Daniella Snyder, a second-year graduate student at Villanova University, and your ‘Cat in Falvey Library’s Stacks. I’ll be posting about academics– from research to study habits and everything in between– and how the Falvey can play a large role in your success here on campus!

This post goes out to my fellow graduate students, and a question that we have heard regularly over the last two weeks:

How’s your thesis going?

Whether it be from co-workers, classmates, or professors, the question is anxiety-inducing. The timeline I had envisioned for myself might have been too demanding, I keep getting distracted, I love procrastinating…the list goes on and on. However, I’m not here to stress you out any further. Instead, I want to help you. Over the course of the last few days, I’ve found tons of thesis and dissertation writing tips, tricks, and testimonials, and I’ve listed some of the best pieces of advice below. Wildcats: best of luck, and get writing!

1). It’s okay if you don’t write every single day. In her Inside Higher Ed article, Christine Tulley writes that, despite the popular “hour a day” writing schedule, real-life academics “carve out time and space for writing in an impressive variety of ways,” and advises a weekly writing day. If that sounds more doable than a daily writing sesh, read Tulley’s article.

2). Get in the driver’s seat. Dora Farkus, PhD, shared her own dissertation-writing journey in this online article. Farkus advises that you have to be your own project manager. “The purpose of grad school is to learn how to become an independent researcher,” she writes, “you are not at the mercy of your thesis supervisor,” and that you are at the point in your education where you know what is realistic to accomplish.

3). Accept that you will never feel like writing. In a different online article, Farkus makes it clear that you should not wait to be inspired to write. However, there are a few steps you can take to “warm up your writing muscles:” listen to music that puts you in the mood to write, watch a motivational video, or visualize all the things you will do once your thesis is finished. Then, she advises, start typing gibberish! Get something down on paper until words flow naturally.

4). Be intentional when writing. Instead of writing “work on thesis” in your calendar, Farkus and Tulley assert that you should be specific, such as “Finish Section II of Chapter I, 3-5 p.m.” This way, you can feel accomplished when you do finish the task. Further, by setting specific time restraints, you’re more likely to mono-task (the opposite of multi-task!) during that time frame.

5). Finally, not writing is writing (sometimes). Of course you know that you should take breaks when writing, but Tulley writes that on your walk to get more coffee or doing your laundry, you should use that time to think about what you worked on. Do you feel proud? Are there still problems to tackle? Who can you send it to to for constructive criticism or revisions? This way, you’re not allowing your break time to distract you from your project, and you’re still making progress towards your end goal.


Daniella Snyder HeadshotDaniella Snyder, graduate assistant for the Communication and Marketing department at Falvey, is currently working on her master’s thesis.


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#TBT: One Book for Nova Nation

THROWBACK THURSDAY

In honor of the 15th anniversary of the One Book Villanova Program, we want to transport you all the way back to 2010 when Falvey celebrated the featured book selection that year, Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji. Our cultural window display designer, Joanne Quinn, mounted a vibrant scene in the cases outside of Holy Grounds in hopes that it would help inspire students to read the book.

In case you missed it, the 2019-2020 One Book Villanova selection is I Will Always Write Back by Martin Ganda ’07 VSB, Caitlin Alifirenka, and Liz Welch. Martin will be visiting campus on Thursday, September 19 as part of the University’s annual St. Thomas of Villanova celebration. During his visit, he will participate in a book signing event in Falvey Library from 5:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Afterwards, he will head over to the Connelly Center at 6:00 p.m. to deliver a keynote lecture. For more updates about the author’s visit and related One Book events, please visit the One Book Villanova website.

Also, please note that books for students will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis starting on Thursday, September 12, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. at the Riley Ellipse outside of Dougherty Hall as well as the Connelly Center.


Regina Duffy is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.


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#TBT: Sweet Times at the Oreo

The Oreo statue in 1991, The Awakening, and students

The Awakening, an abstract sculpture donated by artist Jay Dugan, greets students as they make their way through campus. The dome of Alumni Hall peeks through the trees.

 

THROWBACK THURSDAY

Check out this throwback to 1991. Students walk on campus with The Awakening statue, or what is now fondly known as the “Oreo,” in the background. The statue has been a well-loved campus landmark since 1985.

For more information on the Oreo sculpture, check out this sweet blog by Alice Bampton.

Photo Credit: Alan Nyiri, 1991.


Regina Duffy is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library. She is a big fan of mint Oreos.


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Last Modified: July 18, 2019