Category Archives: Doctor of Laws Thesis Progress

06/09 Thesis Progress: I GOT AN A.

After a long and arduous journey, my thesis has been bound and submitted, and the result is in. I want to burst with happiness and pride – my grade is an A. My viva was held in July, an hour-and-ten-minutes-long weird and wonderful and TAXING and OH-SO-OVERWHELMING experience, by the end of which I was sobbing with sheer emotion. (I really need to get this crying thing under control. Anyway.)

It has been one of the most exhausting things I’ve ever done, but I managed to cobble together a bunch of words which I’m really proud of, and which have been very well-received. It doesn’t contain any ground-breaking revelations, but I’m hugely pleased with my little academic contribution. Let’s hope there will be more to come throughout my life.

There were highs and a ridiculous amount of lows, but it all led to a very happy ending. I’m graduating Doctor of Laws in mid-November, and I got straight As in my final year’s subjects. I’ve essentially finally hacked the UoM law course, and managed to bag myself the notarial warrant, and a job as a lawyer(!!!!) in the process. High five, everyone! (You can totally achieve whatever you want, just ignore the negative/horrid people around you that try to get you down. They deserve The Worst Things.)

30/06 Thesis Progress: IT’S SUBMITTED.


It’s been such a long time coming, but I finally gave in my thesis this morning. I’m absolutely exhausted and am kind of incredulous, but it’s IN, and now I just have to sit and wait for my viva date.

My wonderful friends and boyfriend spent hours over the past week looking over every word and comma, and I polished up my bibliography and tables over the weekend. I was up till 2AM last night to make sure that everything was as perfect as it could be. After it was completely finished and ready for printing (and burned onto a CD!) this morning, I FOUND A SPELLING MISTAKE. AND I WANTED TO DIE. Particularly because this word was a surname that is identical to mine. (HOW DID I MANAGE TO MISSPELL MY OWN SURNAME?! AND NOT EVEN REALISE?!) But thankfully, I was just in time, and quickly fixed it before printing and submitting.

Now I’m going to have a relaxed night in, with a bottle of wine (shared with my boyfriend) and lots of smelly cheese and oatcakes. Yum. Writing theses is hard, but I’m so proud of this one.

27/05 Thesis Progress: Extension Time

One sentence: thank GOD for extensions.

I hate the concept of extensions, but for once in my life, I have legitimate reasons for an extension, and I applied for one, and I got it. This evening. Thank GOD.

I’m actually almost done from the writing. Which is miraculous. But I’ve been churning out actual good stuff for the past couple of weeks, and I’m halfway through the final chapter (almost). Since this thesis is so LONG, the writing has become almost second nature. I’ve been doing this for thousands and thousands of words, so a few more thousand just spill out of me with relative ease. I usually don’t write more than a thousand or two thousand words a day, but in a few thousand I’ll be at the minimum word count, and eventually at the end of my final chapter!

It’s all a bit overwhelming at the moment, but most things are overwhelming when it comes to this thesis. I’m really pleased with a lot of the chunks that I’ve written up till now though, so that’s something. I hope that when I’ve finished with the first proper whole complete DRAFT that I can go back and fine-tune it all as much as possible.

We’re going to be on this journey for a while longer, folks.

16/05 Thesis Progress: Ughhh.

I’ve done lots of work on my thesis over the past couple of weeks. But there is still a large chunk left to be written, and everything seems a little exhausting. I don’t want to just plonk a few words on a page and get it done. I can do that very quickly, I’ve found. But I want to do a good job and put words together in an effective and critical way. Maybe all this effort won’t pay off in the future, but I still feel I owe it to myself to give all this thesis malarkey one final PUSH.

There’s still one and a half chapters to be written, even though they’re all pretty much fully planned out. Hopefully, consolidating everything shouldn’t take me too long, but it’s still a LOT of work to be done, and I kind of just want to drink cold fresh juice in the sun by the sea.

The end is nearer than ever, but it sure doesn’t feel that way.

03/05 Thesis Progress: Better.

Things are better. Last time, I was stuck in a bit of a seriously-bad rut, but now I’ve somehow gradually emerged, and written an entire chapter’s draft(!)

There’s still a long way to go. I have the bulk of two chapters left to write, and I’m already quite exhausted. I want it to be a great piece of work, but it’s tiring and time-consuming. And now it’s Deadline Month and the next few weeks are going to be brutal. Plus, I have the oral part of my notarial warrant exam in about a week’s time, so that’s going to be time-consuming in itself.

I’m seeing my immediate future as relatively bleak, but I’m still quite optimistic. I managed to piece together a fairly coherent chapter in 8 days (after extensive research and planning over long months, that is…), so maybe the final two chapters will work out as well.

Best of luck to everyone else that’s writing a thesis/dissertation/long essay/research project write-up. It’s a tough time. But we’ll get through it, and I keep telling myself: without any effort whatsoever, time is still going to pass, so whether I like it or not, it’s going to be June in a few weeks. Make of that what you will.

25/04 Thesis Progress: Not Good

Things are not going so well on the thesis front, as well as the life front. Only with regard to some things. Some things are great and fantastic. Others are just plummeting down towards deep, dark depths around me. I’ve been held back on progress on my thesis during the past few weeks, for a variety of reasons.

With just over a month to go, it’s time to lift myself from the bootstraps and charge ahead. I’ve been trying to do that for a while, however, and it hasn’t really worked. Yet. But – tomorrow is a new day, and at the end of it all, these are just a few words typed onto a page. I’m doing that right now.

Onwards and upwards. Even though I mostly feel like this.

PS: I’m sorry for not updating since December, but the long-story-short is that I emerged from a dark spell (as described back in December) and wrote a couple of chapters (that is, I mainly completely re-wrote a major chapter), and then I had my warrant exam to worry about, and now I’m (still) trying to get back into the groove of things. Eeeep.

09/12 Thesis Progress: Astonishingly bad

It’s taken me almost a week to write this post. It’s bad. It’s really bad. I was so pleased with my progress and now it feels like I have almost nothing. Early last week, I had a meeting with my supervisor, and it turns out that what I’ve compiled so far is practically no good, and needs to be completely condensed, re-arranged and re-written. It was a blow, and I haven’t been able to bounce back very well, yet. I’m trying to really get a good understanding of my primary materials right now, so then I can re-write a chapter as intelligently as I can. Then, we’ll see whether I’m on the right track or not.

30/11 Thesis Progress: progress and delays

It’s almost the end of #AcWriMo (Academic Writing Month), and the mere idea of this has been a huge help this month. My word count is somewhere around 13,000 words, and that includes a few hundred for Chapter 1, 8,700 for Chapter 2, and 4,100 for Chapter 3. Both Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 need to be re-hashed in places and Chapter 3 has a long way to go before it’s finished, which means that it will definitely need to be shortened. BUT I am so proud of myself and my progress.

I’m only allowing myself around two more weeks of thesis work before I dial it down heavily until the end of March. Plus I’m going to be abroad for a few days in a week and a half, so that means that I only have a few more days to really squeeze out some more thesis work.

I’ve definitely hit a few obstacles and stumbling blocks during the past couple of weeks. The procurement of basic primary resources for my thesis has proved to be rather problematic in some parts, which sucks big time. For example, the National Archives have a SEVEN-YEAR GAP with regard to compiled volumes of Ordinances enacted in Malta, and even though I can find them elsewhere, it was quite a drawback that things are not as easy to refer to as I once thought. Also, I wanted photocopies of some Ordinances of certain years, and I was only informed this morning that this particular volume might not be fit for photocopying (I wish they would just let me take photos myself) and their photocopier isn’t even photocopying so well recently. Ugh, it’s set me back a few days. At least I’ll give myself the task of making sure that I can get these required materials in some way, even if it takes me longer than my self-assigned two weeks.

With regard to supervisor feedback, I haven’t set up a meeting with him yet, so that needs to happen next week, ideally. Let’s pray that he likes what I’ve written so far.

Otherwise, I’ve been doing well with juggling other things in my life alongside thesis-writing and research. It’s still difficult for me to sit down and just write bits of my thesis, but I sometimes do other equally important work like highlighting text or going to the Archives or National Library for some research.

Let’s hope my next update will bring more progress and more useful research. And let’s hope my last stab at this #AcWriMo business is productive…

11/11 Thesis Progress: Things are going surprisingly well…

… and I’m obviously suspicious of everything. How is this going well? I’m actually getting concrete stuff done – as in: writing. Words. Lots of writing of lots of words.

I started #AcWriMo on 1 November (Academic Writing Month) and set myself the goal of around 500 words a day for 5 days a week. I’ve only written on 6 days since 1 November, but I’ve far exceeded my word count goal. I’ve started Chapter 2, and I’m at 7,240 words! This is excluding the 350 words that I had written a few weeks ago. It’s all quite unbelievable.

The words I’ve written until now have been relatively “easy writing”, in the sense that I am going through the clauses of a number of laws that need to be explained in detail in my thesis. It’s quite easy to go through each provision and just regurgitate them (with some intelligent re-writing and commentary). The rest of my thesis won’t be this easy to write, but at least I’ve gotten this huge job out of the way.

I seem to be unable to work for more than 2 hours at a time, maximum. I usually use a Pomodoro timer to work in bursts of 25 minutes, and I try to do three or four of these. My favourite place to work seems to be the IT Services building at uni, where they have big monitors and well lit spaces. My monitor at home is larger than the ones at uni, but at uni I get the sense that I went there for a purpose, and that purpose is to write my thesis, and I’m just go-go-go-go like a machine gun and words just get WRITTEN.

It’s difficult to find time to write. I want to put it off every day. But I’m carving out a couple of hours here and there, and when I do have a writing session, I usually clock in over 500 words. Today’s session was a quick 30 minute one in between a library visit and a lecture, but I still managed 430 words, even though I’m past the truly “easy” writing phase.

My aims for the next 3-4 weeks:

1. Get started on at least two other chapters, since the chapter I’m currently working on is reaching its approximate word limit (which I myself have imposed),

2. Reach a minimum word count of 10,500 words, but hopefully closer to 15,000 words? Maybe?

3. Fix up what I’ve written in a way that I can present it to my supervisor for comments and suggestions,

4. Lastly, forget about my thesis after mid-December until end March, because I need to start focusing on my notarial warrant exam.

Everything is scary, but now less so. Even if I need to re-write everything. I pray to every single god that may or may not exist that I don’t need to re-write everything. That would be crushing.


26/10 Thesis Progress: Well, I started…

Yes. YES. I actually started writing my Doctor of Laws thesis. I have about 350 words out of 35,000. That’s 1%! I’m very proud of myself, even though progress is so incredibly slow, but at least there is some semblance of actual progress.

When I wrote about my thesis’ progress last time, I actually managed to churn out these 350 words. Since then, I haven’t done much in terms of writing. What I have been doing is some dirty work which has involved trawling through the current laws of Malta and checking which promulgated and amended during the period I’m looking at have remained un-amended or have not been further amended up till this very day. That exercise will hopefully be useful once I delve into the third and fourth chapters of my thesis. This is classic me – if I can work on something else, I’ll do that instead of focusing on what actually should be done now. Oh well.

Today is another day which offers a few hours which can be free for thesis work. I was planning on going to a conference but then the desire to go completely left me, and I also realised that the content of the conference wasn’t largely pointed towards any of my academic interests at the moment. So I opted against it. Hopefully, I’ll get some work done.

I’m not sure what to start working on now – but it will probably be to read some relevant literature, and get some relevant files ready for printing so I can work on them next week. Maybe I’ll get my word count up a little next week. Ugh, this really is going to be a long road.