Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The commencement of the Masters theses

Walking away from Ljubljana - the group on a fieldtrip on
the penultimate day of our time in the Slovenian capital.
It is now mid-March and, since our last post just prior to Christmas, we have finished our short spell in Ljubljana after an intense month of many exams, many presentations and many reports. It was a tough two months, inevitably disjointed and split by the Christmas holidays. On our final day together, a field-trip was organised through the snowy Karstic region of  South West Slovenia, with the trip an opportunity to witness glorious snow-covered landscapes, dive (figuratively) head-first into some of the world's deepest and most scientifically-valued cave networks and, most importantly, to begin to say goodbye to each other and the country. In early February the day to leave Slovenia came around.

Currently, we have been within our thesis writing period for a month now. With over six months to focus on a topic, the thesis period has proved to be an opportunity for us to explore a topic of interest to us and really delve deep into an academic field. We have been given opportunities - and many of us have worked hard to create our own opportunities in new institutes - all over the world, with students spread from Denmark to the Caribbean and some of us have the opportunity to travel to Asia and beyond for fieldwork. For more information on the thesis titles, locations and a brief topic description, please visit the new 'Masters Theses' (click here) page. It's brilliant!

A suitable snapshot of FRM meets
FRM in Dresden's Neustadt.
Many of the first batch of FRM have been lucky enough to meet the second batch of students (FRM 2.0). Those four students writing their thesis in Germany were able to coincide their arrival with the last week of the 2011-14 group's stint in Dresden. Such an opportunity provided the chance for questions to be asked, stories to be shared, advice to be given and a few drinks drunk - all in the name of business... maybe. And, now, FRM 2.0 find themselves in Holland where, in-between countless lectures, assignments and essays, they have joined-up with the largest thesis contingent. The three students at UNESCO-IHE and the other three Delft-based thesis students are now able to expand the inter-generational FRM bonding that began in Dresden. And, who knows, maybe the two thesis students in Barcelona will be lucky enough to continue the trend in the first few days of FRM 2.0's time at UPC! Such bonding between the FRM community and the shared sense of purpose is a real positive of the course and I, for one, am grateful for my opportunity to have spent such time. Hopefully, future meetings can be encouraged in the next 18 months and beyond.

However, as always with such a masters, the thesis period brings with it new experiences and issues to work through. Over our year and half travelling Europe together, we have grown very accustomed to each other and I am comfortable that I speak for all of us when I say that not being surrounded by our favoured, friendly FRM faces is an odd experience that makes our final six months very different to the preceding eighteen. However, this is just a fact of this period and, if nothing else, it ensures that we are passionately anticipating our graduation ceremony at UNESCO-IHE, Delft, in September. I know that many students have already started to make arrangements for themselves and, more significantly, their families to join them for the celebrations. We know it will be a special day for us all and, if previous UNESCO-IHE organised parties are anything to go by, we are set for a brilliant evening too.

But until then, there are thesis proposals to fine-tune, research to plan and implement, tens of thousands of words to write, defence seminars to sweat through and everything in-between. It is set to be a busy six months, but with the end (surprisingly-quickly) creeping up, it's time to end it with a bang.



Richard Vause

1 comment:

  1. I miss the lectures so much and the nice weather. Ljubljana <3