MTM – The 5 Symptoms

Reading time: 2 minutes

You don’t know what MTM stands for? Well, you can’t because I invented the abbreviation. It means Master’s Thesis Madness and I suffer from it. So, how do you know if you are affected as well? Check out the symptoms and if they sound familiar to you, it is very likely that you have it.

1. Reduced Strategic Judgement

This is a symptom that you experience at the onset of the illness. The mean thing  here is that this is fairly common and not at all specific to MTM. However, if you are told in a project management class in March that – from a logical point of view and after calculating – it is basically impossible that you will be able to finish your master’s thesis until the 10th of June but you nonetheless think “Yes, I can”, then you should become suspicious.


2. Excessive Procrastinating Behaviour

Well, you already know that the timeline is very tough. However, you try to avoid working on your master’s thesis whenever you can. In this stage, you would basically do EVERYTHING else but working on the thesis. And it does not help that the reduced strategic judgement gets worse.


3. Excessive Industrious Behaviour

The change from excessive procrastinating to excessive industrious behaviour happens abruptly within seconds at some point. In a very clear moment, you become aware that you have to get a move on. From that moment onward, you stop thinking about what you are doing, you just DO it.


4. Duracell Bunny Transformation

Slowly but surely, you turn into a Duracell bunny. When you go to bed you turn out the light but not your brain. You keep thinking, thinking and thinking which keeps you from sleeping. It may even happen that you jump out of bed in the middle of the night because you need to note down a probably “brilliant” idea (which often turns out to be not THAT brilliant).


5. Extreme Exhaustion

Well, not surprisingly this all leads to extreme exhaustion. Especially when you take your last 5 holidays to run a master’s thesis marathon. One week before the hand-in date, your brain is totally focused on the master’s thesis, there is hardly any space for other thoughts which gives the people around you the impression that you finally have gone mad. However, at this point the goal is so near that you do not give up.


All-Clear Signal

This sounds awful and it feels awful. However the good news is that all symptoms will slowly pass by as soon as the master’s thesis has been handed in. You will make a full recovery.

Until you write your next master’s thesis!


Photos: © Alexandra Wurian

If would like to know what the panic monster can do to you, check out the (German) blog post by my colleague Silvia Endspurt Masterarbeit

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