The reason I think our Bachelor Thesis is a load of bullshit and real projects I want to do

At the moment, me, Mario and Luigi have been working our asses off on the Bachelor Thesis. It’s a lot of frustrating, pain staking, boring work, but we just have to get through it. My question is: why make it so boring?

There’s plenty of work for me to do right now, both inside and outside of school…

  • I’m at the moment experimenting with combining Shaolin Kung Fu with Basketball to create a unique workout that a person can do in their homes with a limited amount of equipment. It’s mostly just a fun project for myself though.
  • I still need to re-sit Management Accounting.
  • I’m experimenting with growing a certain type of fungi.
  • I’ve got a lot of research questions other than that of my Bachelor Thesis I want to work on.

The point is, the Bachelor Thesis is putting a lot of work on my plate, preventing me from working on these other tasks… this, with a limited amount of return in knowledge. Personally, I’m relying a lot on my teammates to understand the work I have to do, and I’m glad I have them to lean on. Trying to figure this out myself is boring and frustrating work, and if it wasn’t for my teammates, I would’ve seeked ‘professional help’ by getting a tutor or a supervisor who can actually actively guide me.

In terms of teaching, I think our school is pretty shitty. The system here works in the way that people learn independently. Lectures are bullshit in my opinion. The only reason people go to them is because they want someone to read the book out loud to them basically. Yes, they might have good stories which compliment the theory, but I think workshops are much more effective in teaching me something. Workshops are much more interactive and its a chance for me to get to know my fellow students by listening to what they have to say on certain theories or collaborating with them to solve problems provided by the workshop leader. I think if the education system here would change, I would scrap lectures and be more workshop orientated. It’s a much more hands-on approach to learning. Lecturing is a waste of time for everybody. There are much better ways to communicate information if all you’re going to do is create a one channel flow of information- I might as well go read a book or watch a video.

The only thing my tuition seems to pay for is for PhD students to do research, and not really for teachers to teach. I mean the guy who’s supervising our paper basically just told us ‘just do what you can’ when we had questions. He’s also making it a pain in the ass to look for articles to be able to do our meta-analysis… I think its good that we’re finding out how research actually works, and how the statistics involved work but I’m sort of half-guessing my way through these articles and the meta-analysis itself. ‘Blind horses’ is what Mario likes to call it; it doesn’t matter what’s happening around you, just keep moving forwards… and that’s sort of the culture of a lot of Western society. Everything is driven by ‘progress’, but what value are we actually adding or is being added to us?

One thing I know for sure is that this thesis bullshit can be done much more different. Since it’s just focused on the training aspect of writing a Master thesis, why couldn’t we just choose our own topics? I would for example be interested in the debate of generalists vs. specialists, or research the implications of fully legalizing marijuana, or a number of other things.

I’m working on a bonus assignment right now which is about ‘The Future of Work’ and we have to find articles for that as well to support the 4000 word essay we have to do for it… and this is a hell lot more fun than some Bachelor bullshit thesis. I can actually apply my imagination and creativity to this topic, and come up with my own theories rather than be constricted by these fucked up statistical models to prove something. Theoretically, I think meta-analysis is very useful. Practically, not so much. Researchers never study the same variables, and they always do something just a little bit different from each other. Evidence for this is that the forest plot for our meta-analysis is completely fucked up. I mean, we had to fucking struggle to first of all find 30 articles that were related to our topic, then we had to determine that we couldn’t use 24 of them. Further analysis left us with only 3 papers we could use to compare… and in the end, the results from these papers are not even close to each other. I mean, the meta-analytic result was so pathetic that all I could really do was laugh.

I think the real test for the knowledge that I’ve gathered in school would be to try them out; to set up an entrepreneurial venture that would actually float. With this bachelor thesis however, its leaving me little time to experiment with other things, and I’ve sort of began to treat the thesis as a joke. I don’t feel like we’re being taken serious anyway, so why should we fucking stress about it? I’ll still do the best I can, but I’m going to stop worrying about the quality of our outcome. What I want to start doing is focusing more on the points I mentioned in the beginning, in where I can actually practically learn something and benefit from the outcome of projects realized. I want to be driven more by my passions rather than sheer willpower and discipline. Of course following my passion will require that as well, but working for something I don’t believe in is retarded…although if I want my to get back my government loan and receive a diploma, I’ll have to sit tight just a bit longer.

Because of all this energy I’m putting into the Bachelor Thesis, I need to figure out when I’m going to leave time for studying. Hopefully it will work out, but I’m considering taking a 4th year anyway just for shits and giggles; to make that a year in which I can truly experiment with my life in Holland without being bound by too many obligations. It’ll give me a chance to drop in on classes just for fun- I was thinking today about dropping in on agricultural class in Wageningen or dropping in on technical studies to see if I can learn some real skills. It’ll give me the chance to focus on entrepreneurial ventures, and learn from other entrepreneurs who I could work together with.

So maybe my plan for Thailand will have to wait, who knows. It doesn’t really matter, because that opportunity will still be there for me (I think). But we shall see. First things first 🙂

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2 Responses to The reason I think our Bachelor Thesis is a load of bullshit and real projects I want to do

  1. Mehdi René says:

    Too bad your bachelor thesis isn’t more interesting to you, then you’d be set with intrigue in the work. Undergraduate studies can be hard and focus shifts to all the fun, but beware that you don’t get a degree and skip the education. I figured that one out late in my undergrad.

    You say your studying in Holland. Where are you from? I’ve been looking into graduate studies in the Netherlands and would love to hear what you think of it there.

    • iemke postma says:

      I’m definitely set on finishing my degree, not to worry 😉 it’s always difficult for me to answer where I’m from. My standard answer would be to say I’m Dutch, although I don’t look like it and don’t necessarily feel it either. My mom is Thai and my dad is Dutch, and I’ve lived a large chunk of my teenage years in Thailand where I went to an international school. I consider myself a borderline TCK (Third Culture Kid).

      Great that you’re thinking of studying in the Netherlands! The reason I’m studying here is because I’m getting funded by the government to get an undergraduate degree. Through my time studying here, I’ve come to appreciate more things that are possible around me…

      Holland’s great because of the ease of mobility using public transport and bicycles. You can cycle pretty much anywhere on the designated bike paths, and it’ll take you less than half a day to get from one end of the country to the other by train. I’ve personally skated across Holland using a longboard, so I appreciate the infrastructure in place.

      Another thing I like about Holland is the freedom. For example, walking into a coffee-shop and being able to legally buy up to 5 grams of marijuana. But it’s also the freedom and security you feel when going out late at night- even though there might be some sketchy parts around Holland, I feel that it is a generally safe place to go out.

      The only thing about Holland is the weather. You don’t come here for that. In the summer it can be nice, but that’s only about 3 months (or less) of the year. I personally like to do a lot of indoor things because of this.

      All in all, I’m happy to be studying here right now, although I feel that soon it will be time to move on to something else (I’m thinking SE-Asia).

      Let me know if I can be of any more help 😉

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