Depending on the program and the focus of your studies, many graduate students here at PSU or elsewhere are required to write a thesis or do a project. That is the case with my program, Conflict Resolution, and I chose to write a thesis.
I don’t know about you, but I detest exams but love writing, especially if it is a topic I enjoy researching. Fortunately, for the last two years in my program here at PSU, I did not have to take a single test; all I did was write papers. As a result, I came to love the program even more. The research, however, is a small percentage of thesis writing. I did not know any of this until I got into it. There are many requirements to be completed before one can get started on the research and that has been my biggest struggle.
Instead of focusing on my writing, first I had to submit a thesis proposal to the department; wait for their OK, and then write a ‘sample thesis’ and fill out an application to be turned in to the research review board known as the Human Subject Research Committee. Then there is more waiting, and at the end they may not even approve your research proposal. That will mean one has to modify the proposal and try again until the thesis receives the ‘blessing’ of the board. By this time, months have passed!
My advice to students who plan to do a thesis is to know exactly what they are getting into; prepare the documentation ahead of time, and be prepared to wait a long time, and finally, be patient and persistent with your work.