What to do if you struggle to finish your dissertation?

A straw breaks the camel’s hump. Here is such a dromedary or, let’s say, a Bactrian, through the desert. She carries bales, carpets, wineskins, a milk-fed oriental beauty with hips like down pillows, and a couple of bags hanging from the sides with the squeaking offspring of this beloved Bedouin wife… Hardy brute! And then the Bedouin, having completely lost his temper, puts a straw on the hump of a trouble-free living machine.

The fate of the camel from this flowery metaphor is often repeated by the most responsible, the most intelligent, promising excellent students and prodigies. As a student, I preferred to pay someone to write my research paper for me. A one-year-old camel is taught to read, a three-year-old is sent to kindergarten with the study of English, French, and Chinese, … And so, when one chapter remains until the end of the dissertation, such a cry of the soul appears on some forum:

Hello, dear Forum participants! I have a problem with this plan — I have not been able to force myself to finish my dissertation for a long time. There is not so much left — 2 chapters + appendices. the last push. and I no longer have the strength — that is, they are there, but for everything except working on the dissertation.

I can do anything but write!! I can’t quit either — too much has already been done, efforts and efforts have been invested, I will quit-I will feel like an insignificant loser (which I am now), who could not finish the job, being afraid of difficulties. Everyone is trying to persuade me, they promise support, but it’s like I’m completely numb or I’m in some kind of vacuum — I just want to sleep complete prostration and stupefaction. Please tell me how to finally overcome yourself and make the last leap! I’m looking forward to your advice.

Unfinished dissertations are a common problem. The hope of the department just breaks down. Any trifle can become a straw: the requirement of the supervisor to rewrite the chapter, problems in his personal life, at work (most graduate students work), health problems… The person was simply overloaded. For many years, bales and wineskins were put on it, until the burden became unaffordable.

The body’s reaction is chronic fatigue, asthenia. The nervous system goes in defensive mode. The brain is going on strike. When looking at the dissertation, nausea attacks occur. Tantrums are possible.

That’s it, the camel is dead. The light bulb burned out.

Sometimes an excellent student breaks down on a diploma. The situation, of course, is tin, because 

“I don’t want, I can’t, I won’t” is not a whim, but a real inability of the body to move on.

In short, it’s all clear. What to do?

There are several solutions to the problem:


Often this option is chosen by overloaded prodigies who quit science and start doing “some bullshit” (according to shocked relatives). For example, they volunteer for a social project, go downshifting to Tai or Goa, and start painting pictures… Sometimes, interestingly, they achieve success in a new business. Sometimes they just live in a relaxed way. People around are shaking their heads in frustration: “But he was such a smart kid!”. A dissertation or diploma, of course, is ignored. Forever.

Treatment of chronic fatigue

 It is best to do this with a psychotherapist. It is more difficult to solve the problem on your own, but there are effective methods of self-healing. Perhaps, in parallel, treatment of aggravated chronic diseases will be required – this is a common reaction of the body to malfunctions of the nervous system. In this case, there are still chances to finish a dissertation or diploma. The problem is that it may take a year, two, three to restore the nervous system.

For such a time to postpone dissertation, and even more so a diploma, in 99% of cases loving relatives will not give – they will take out the brain. Unfortunately, until a person really ends up in a mental hospital, chronic fatigue syndrome is not taken seriously by others in most cases. If you still postpone writing a paper for a couple of years, the chance of losing interest and motivation increases.

Use someone’s help 

Delegate part of the authority to another person. This option seems to be the easiest way out of the situation. In the end, some students can finish the last chapter of the dissertation on the already developed materials. The problem is that for an excellent student who is used to pulling bales on his hump, such an option is harsh violence against personal attitudes. How is it that my luggage, which I have always carried through the desert in proud solitude, will someone else drag the last kilometers to the oasis?! The mode of rigid psychological resistance is activated.

There is no single recipe for solving the problem. Anyone who finds himself in such a situation will have to find a way out himself, weighing the pros and cons of each option.

Perhaps the most important thing, in this case, is to convince relatives that the camel is bad. And you don’t need to beat him with sticks – he won’t get up anyway. First, you need to remove at least a couple of bales from the hump.

Illustrations, graphs, and drawings

Graphic elements can and should be placed in the dissertation. These can be graphs, drawings, pictures, various diagrams, and much more. Illustrations are usually placed immediately after the text, where the author refers to them.

Graphic elements can also be placed on the next page or separately in the application. Illustrative materials are subject to numbering in Arabic numerals. Moreover, you can number them in an end-to-end way or within the same section.

If an application of a non-standard size is provided in the dissertation, it is folded in such a way that the size of the folded sheet corresponds to the A4 format. 

Tables and graphics in the document are placed immediately after the text, on the next page, or in the appendix. They are also numbered. 

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