So, you’ve have made it into graduate school and you’ve finished your course work, but there is still one more thing to do. Daunting, at the edge of your periphery, your thesis has been looming for the last two to three years, and now it is time to complete it. At this juncture, you have one of two options. One, you take every bit of knowledge you have been learning during your time in graduate school and start from scratch. You’ve earned your knowledge, and now you get to implement it. Or two, and this set-up is a slight misnomer, you have already been working on your thesis for the past two to three years.
Personally, I recommend option two. Use your classes, your course work, and your assignments as templates for your thesis. Gear all of your work and your endeavors toward that final goal. This is NOT double dipping, it is working smarter, not harder. Some committee/departments will not allow you to do this, as they want your thesis to be entirely original, but for the most part, you will not find any roadblocks. This method saves you times, and in graduate school, time is everything.
Whatever option you choose, find your own way to tackle this process to make it easier. Do not be lackadaisical in this endeavor, whatever your department says, remember, your thesis is a big ordeal.
In addition, discover your department’s guidelines before your final semester. Sometimes (cough, usually) your first draft of your thesis does not mean it is you final draft, regardless of whether your department likes it or not. You may also still have to take exams and have an oral defense over what you’ve written. In the end–and I’m saying again for emphasis–make sure you have time. Time is your biggest threat. I for one, only took thesis during my last semester of graduate school, and it still took me the entire 15 weeks to complete the process. Good luck and God speed!