More Than Just a Grade: The Unexpected Benefits of Your Thesis Defense

Ah, the dreaded thesis defense.

At many universities, a graduate degree is granted to students who have successfully written and defended their thesis – a large paper on a topic related to their field of study.

If a thesis defense is part of your assessment, you might be feeling nervous and worried, especially if you struggle with public speaking. But if there’s one thing I want you to know right now, it’s that you’re not alone.

Many students are terrified of standing in front of a committee of professional academics, presenting their work, and being asked various questions. And understandably so.

But there is more to your thesis defense than meets the eye. In fact, this experience isn’t just about getting a good grade – you also gain some incredibly valuable skills during the process.

Without further ado, here are the unexpected benefits of your thesis defense.

RELATED READ: How to Properly Write a Methods Section for Your Thesis

1) You develop transferable core skills

Every experience is an opportunity for growth. Including your thesis defense.

When you’re writing your thesis, preparing your notes for the defense, and practicing your public speaking, you’re evolving in new directions without even realizing it – on both a professional and a personal level.

These are just some of the core skills you may develop:

  • Critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills: As you’re writing your paper, you’re approaching the process with the knowledge that you will ultimately have to defend what you’re saying in front of a committee of academics. This means you will put a great deal of effort into thinking your arguments through, solving the obstacles that come up during the experience, and making sure each fact is backed by relevant secondary sources.
  • Time management and organizational skills: Your defense ought to be carefully planned out, including the time it takes you to present each point. What’s more, you should strive to organize your arguments as well as the material circumstances surrounding your thesis defense, such as technical and administrative factors.
  • Public speaking and communication skills: Naturally, your thesis defense will also help you improve your communication and rhetoric skills because you’ll spend a lot of time preparing your speech, enhancing your vocabulary, and ensuring you can defend all your arguments under scrutiny.



2) You improve your resilience and confidence under pressure

Right now, you may feel anything but resilient. You might be scared out of your wits, nervous and jittery, worried, and praying you could just get it over with.

Let’s have a look at this dialogue from George R. R. Martin’s book A Game of Thrones for a second:

“Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’ 

‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.’”

I’m not bringing up a fantasy book in the middle of an academia-related article for nothing.

What this dialogue reminds us is that all those uncomfortable emotions you’re feeling don’t make you any less brave, strong, or smart than the next person. They’re just part of the human condition.

Resilience isn’t about an absence of fear or worries. It’s about feeling it all and choosing to go ahead anyway.

As a result, your thesis defense won’t only help you develop some amazing transferable core skills but it will also strengthen your resilience.

Plus, your confidence might get a nice little boost as well as you’ll come to realize that the experience isn’t as terrifying as you expected. Most things are much scarier in our heads than they are in reality.

3) You boost your sense of self-belief and open up a door to future opportunities

As you’re reading these words, imagine that your thesis defense is already done and dusted, swallowed by the past.

And it feels amazing. Not only did you manage to make it through but your performance was excellent. The thesis defense that had kept you up at night for months eventually turned into a source of self-belief and confidence.

You made it.

What else can you achieve?

This is the foundation of antifragility, a psychological idea that there is something beyond resilience that all humans share – the ability not only to recover from shock but to thrive as a result of encountering adversity.

Now that you know you’re fully capable of making it through stressful situations and combatting your fears, you might seek opportunities you would have otherwise been intimidated by, boosting your professional and personal prospects.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll get a taste for public speaking and decide to become a lecturer. Maybe you’ll feel more confident during job interviews. Perhaps you’ll say “yes” to public speaking opportunities because, well, you’ve already proved to yourself you can do it.

The sky is the limit. No, scratch that. You are the limit – and you have the power to dictate how far you can go.

RELATED READ: How to get the right academic tone


Your thesis defense isn’t just an academic requirement. It’s a springboard for personal and professional growth. The skills and mindset shifts you develop during the process are invaluable, helping you gain confidence, embrace your ambitions, and go after your goals.

And if you ever need help with editing your thesis – something that can help you strengthen your arguments, enhance your language, improve readability, and more – don’t hesitate to reach out to FirstEditing.

Their team of Ph.D. editors, subject matter experts, and experienced professionals in the field have worked with over 50,000 authors, students, and academics worldwide since 1994.

Go ahead and choose an editing package that suits your needs.

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