How to choose your master or master’s thesis subject

Do you find it hard to choose? Maybe you find it hard to make big choices, like what educational program you want to apply for, or a small choices like what juice you want to buy (why are there so many different ones?) If you, like many other people, find it hard to choose, don’t worry. We're here to help.

 

Are you a maximizer or satisficer? 

Some people are good at making choices. They might look around a bit, see what’s happening right then, make a choice and think little more about it. They are happy with “good enough”. These people are what psychologist Barry Schwartz calls “satisficers”.

For others, choosing is a little more demanding. They spend a lot of time exploring the - oh so many - possibilities and consider them carefully. Once they’ve made a choice, they can't to stop thinking about it. They tend to doubt whether they chose the right one and whether there’s a better choice out there.

When it comes to study choices, they might consider: “What would my life have been like if I’d chosen the other course of study? It might have been better.” Some people keep exploring the options and may find it hard to be satisfied with the choice they made. They always want the best. Schwartz calls them “maximizers”.

Can you see yourself in the descriptions? Were you a maximizer or satisficer when choosing a Bachelor’s programme?

Being a bit of a maximizer is not unusual. But it turns out that satisficers tend to be happier about their choices. Even though they might have found something better, if only they had looked around a bit longer.

Why is it so hard? Because we are more concerned with what we lose than what we get. The negative emotions from losing something weighs a lot more than the poisitive feelings from what we gain. Barry Schwartz knows this and is ready to teach you how to handle it in the video below. 

 

Learn how to make choices

In his TED Talk, Schwartz talks about how all the options we have don’t make us happier, but actually make us unhappy:


Tips on how to make choices:

  •  Accept that something is good enough (it's hard we know, but it'll help). You can find many educational programs that are good for you.
  • Set a deadline for choosing. And then stop pondering about it, once you’ve made the choice.

You can also take Ruth Chang’s good advice and view your choices as a chance to define who you want to be. What story do you want to tell about yourself and the choices you make? You decide.

Now, let's go find out how you can find a graduate program that you like. Or, maybe you're ready to find a thesis topic you can use in your career? 

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