Since 2007, the Master’s Programme in Geology and Geophysics has had a tradition of arranging MSc thesis camps or “Graduleiri” to smoothen the thesis writing process. The camp provides students with a week of total concentration on thesis writing without any disturbances or everyday chores.
The thesis camp was arranged during the examination and study week between periods 1 and 2 at the Lammi Biological Station with a total of 16 students attending this time. Each of them had single rooms and extra computer screens were available to those working on large data sets, etc. The students prepared a short 10-minute presentation about their thesis topic, research questions and a plan for the thesis camp. The presentations were discussed with their supervisors and given at a launch seminar on Monday. Each student arranged two supervision meetings with their supervisors, first at the beginning (or before) the camp, and then towards the end of the camp. On Friday, the camp finished with a final seminar, where everyone presented their outcomes for the week. Several supervisors were able to join the camp for a short time or even for the entire week. The students were invited to participate in workshops on specific themes, according to their needs, including: The thesis structure and thesis guidelines, writer’s block and how to overcome it, and separate sessions on how to boost one’s skills with statistical methods, tables, and diagrams, maps and figures.
Feedback from the camp once again proved that this format works well and is highly appreciated by the students and supervisors alike. In addition, the station’s excellent catering was valued, it kept energy levels on target. This year the camp also has a new component: regular follow-up meetings on campus to ensure that the work done during the camp will continue after returning to regular life.