Thesis abstract

Still waiting for the evaluation results, but while I sit around being edgy, here’s the thesis abstract for you to check out. The whole thing will be uploaded in the University’s library database where you can read it later on.


The professional self-esteem, sense of not belonging and intentional behavior modeling of four tattooed professionals from the field of psychology and psychiatry

“The growing prevalence of body modifications, such as tattoos and piercings, has recently started to reach all social structures and fields of profession, including psychology students and even professional psychologists. Tattoos are not just for bikers and prisoners anymore – they are for everyone, including many current and future psychologists, whose work demands consideration for one’s appearance and relies greatly on the quality of interaction with the client or patient. This qualitative case study of four tattooed Finnish professionals from the field of psychology and psychiatry aims to explore the impact tattoos can have on the professional experience of a psychologist. The subjects were interviewed twice about their experiences with tattoos, work and clients or patients. Qualitative analysis of the interview data revealed three themes revolving around the interviewees’ professional identity: a sense of not belonging among their peers; a strong professional self-esteem despite of feeling like an outsider; and a will to model a certain free-spirited and accepting attitude to their clients or patients. This suggests that the professional identity of a tattooed psychologist might be atypical or constructed differently than their professional peers’. The subject hasn’t been studied much previously and still requires more research.”

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Suddenly… a thesis.

So this day finally came.

My thesis is finished.

Seriously. I shit you not. It’s all done and sent for evaluation.

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I gotta say, I’ve thought a lot about this day during the last year or so. I’ve dreamt of the moment I send my thesis for evaluation, but I never imagined it’d be like this. I figured it’d be a festive day, some grand moment set up in my calendar, and that I’d be overwhelmed with joy, relief and an immense need for a victorious little dance. Instead, it was just some random rainy Wednesday, and I didn’t even see how close to finish line I was until I suddenly realized there’s nothing to do anymore. The fucker was ready. Just like that. No drums, no confetti, no nothing. Just rain rattling against my window and a PDF file attached to an email. That was it.

I just can’t wrap my head around it. I’ve been working on this project for almost two years, and I can’t seem to understand that tomorrow morning I’m going to wake up, make myself a cup of coffee and sit down WITHOUT opening my thesis file and letting out a deep sigh.


Well, luckily (luckily?!) I still have a lot to with the thesis project – giving that interview if the psych association is still up for it, sending my thesis here and there, modifying it into an article for publishing… And now it slowly begins to dawn upon me that this has been the greatest personal achievement of my life to date, and I don’t quite know how to feel about it. I barely noticed it happen. I’m slightly overwhelmed and confused and the only thing I can really think of is…

Now what?

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Thesis seminar and the trembling expert

Well then. I’m not sure what exactly happened yesterday at the thesis seminar but somehow in the midst of all the shivering and gulping and sweating I ended up holding quite an ok presentation of my research project to what I feared was going to be a hall full of bored and critical psych students but turned out to be a group of people pretty interested in my study. Before the event started the chairman of the association pointed out that I was of some particular interested for them and called me the “main attraction” of the seminar.


(No, really, I was flattered out of my mind and absolutely taken aback by that comment.)

I’m not sure if I lived up to their great expectations with my amateur slides and trembling voice and skipping speech. Well, I received a lot of positive feedback and people seemed to be really intrigued and fascinated by my topic. I also attended a panel interview with the four other presenters. The theme of the panel conversation was “From Anxiety to Expertise” and I nearly choked on my own laughter because that could have easily been my freaking thesis title. The phrase “expert on your topic” was flying around a lot as it is, and I’m still struggling to adopt that title but I guess I should just suck it up.


Har har har…





All in all, the whole thing went pretty smoothly – considering how nervous and stressed out I was. I think the association presentatives figured I look like someone who could really use a drink since they send me home with a fancy bottle of red wine and if you don’t think that’s cool coming from a psych student association then there’s no pleasing you.

One tired but happy so-called expert signing off.

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Geeeetting there…

Umm, seems my intention of updating this blog more frequently failed immediately, sorry! I’m not making any more promises, buuut at least I’m here now. Hello!

Update: THESIS ALMOST DONE. And seriously all the talk about people often getting really fed up with and tired of their thesis projects somewhere in the halfway… TOO TRUE. During the last few months there’ve been moments I’ve been absolutely done with this entire thesis and ready to flush it down the toilet.

fuck this (5)Well, as you can see, I haven’t. To be honest I’m not quite sure how I’ve even managed to write the paper in the middle of all this procrastinating, duty-avoiding and time-wasting but somehow it happened anyway. It just… sort of turned up at some point.

I’m not in the clear just yet, though; I still need to revise my introduction and get some fine adjustments done and then return the paper and begin the excruciating wait for the evaluation. BUT I’M GETTING THERE. More info on the study and its final results a bit later on, dun dun duuunn!

In other news: STUFF’S HAPPENING. I’ve gotten invited to the Finnish Psychology Students’ Association’s seminar to talk about my thesis tomorrow and oh god oh god oh god. I’m so nervous I can’t begin to explain but reallyreally excited and hyped up! I’ve got my crappy slides, I’ve got my lucky shirt on, I’ve got my speech all prepared to be forgotten instantly as I walk in front of the crowd and hell yeah I’m ready to go!

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This all just feels so insane: my school mates keep asking me about my research, the Finnish Psychological Association is assumably still willing to interview me, my prof wants to work with me to publish my study, Finnish Psychology Students’ Association wants a speech from me…. EVERYTHING IS SO BIG AND IMPORTANT AND I’M SO SMALL AND SCARED.

…ohhhhh my

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Who am I what is this place how do I function

Wow what’s going on.

I spent a week in the countryside just writing and spending my spare time hanging out doing nothing, and it was like putting my life on a pause for a week. Now that I got back I’m really confused to have a ton of stuff falling on me all of a sudden, as if things would’ve been piling up while I was away.

There’s just so much going on. Way more household chores to do; pet rats to take care of; also new baby rats joining the pack and just being a handful; another crazy blog to run; shitloads of people to meet; phone calls to make; messages to reply; yoga classes to attend; movies to catch; errands to run… Basically there’s just something going on every minute and I should start doing stuff now but I don’t know where to start from or what to do with myself so I’m just sitting here on a Monday morning in a shock from this flood of things and trying to figure out when I’d have the time to write again and and and oh lord all the things.

….after getting a taste of peace and quiet in the countryside for a whole week, I suddenly realize how chaotic my life actually is, and I’m not quite sure what I should think of that.

Which is kinda funny because while I was in the country, I was really frustrated by the slow and uneventful way of life I was forced to adapt to, and I was just so anxious to get back to the city and have my hands full of stuff to do again. I suppose the contrast between the two was just so vivid that I’m all overwhelmed now. My life is such a lovable little ball of controlled chaos and I love that but right now I’ve just forgotten how this thing works.


So, um, for the sake of my sanity I’m spending this day sorting stuff out and, um, not writing. MOSTLY BECAUSE I CAN DO SO.

……aaaaand here we see the reason why it’s been over a year and my master’s thesis still isn’t ready. I just reallyreally like to take advantage of the right to take a day-off whenever I feel like it. And I feel like it a lot.

So, I’m going to go over there and stare at my calendar now. Later, guys.

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I’m going through…changeeeees! Well, the blog is.

I don’t know if this is of any relevance to absolutely anyone but I thought I’d still point out that the blog URL has been changed, and is from now on There will also be some other – possibly quite minor – changes in the blog, but nothing too drastic. Just some fine adjustements, out of which the URL change is the most significant one. So if you’re following this blog, eh, let’s say, manually, and have succesfully memorized my name as the URL, you might have some difficulties finding this blog from now on.

…………..yes, Maria, I’m looking at you.

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Desperate times call for desperate measures

I’ve started having nightmares where the other students from my master’s thesis group are coming to me asking when I returned my thesis and I am forced to admit I’ve barely got the results written.

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So, under the pressure that’s been placed upon me by my dear subconscious, I am now running away from the movie theater, the yoga classes, the cafeterias, the beach, my rats and just about any other procrastination opportunity there is, and going to go find the most stimulus-poor place on the face of Earth to keep myself focused on my thesis; I’m spending next week in my teeny-weeny home town writing results and whatnot in the depths of my mom’s sofa. My immense need to prove my mom that I really am making something of myself should force me to at least look like I’m busy and doing something else than just blogging and watching Star Trek.

I will either come back with my results finally written and the new lit review drafted, oooor with the entire Star Trek The Original Series successfully finished.

i dunno (1)

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…..this thing on?

Whoops, whaddya know, it seems this blog went through a suddenly improvised and very much unintended hiatus of some sort. Didn’t realize it and certainly didn’t plan on it so I just kinda dropped out of the radar without a warning. Sowwy…

oh well (1)But I’m back again! Anybody miss me? It’s been months since my last post, mostly due to a really hectic and tiring schedule with rehearsals and gigs and the general overflow of school stuff other than my master’s thesis. (And come on, I know I have like three readers, and you know who you are.)

Well, at least my research project has been progressing even though my blog hasn’t.

I reinterviewed all my interviewees. Was exciting.
I transcribed all the new interviews. Was horrifying and took a lifetime.
I came up with a research question. It’s poorly articulated.
I missed the last master’s thesis group meeting. I swear it was not intentional.
I’ve written methods and general bullshit. It’s, well, bullshit.

But it’s all something, you know.

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At the moment I’m analyzing this second set of data and writing the results and just generally having no idea where I’m going with this and cautiously avoiding making any eye contact with my director. I’ll aim to update this blog a bit more frequently again now that I’ve got more time, just in case my three readers have been missing me and my incoherent ramblings.

So, I’ll see you around!

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The most common lies master’s degree students tell


  • “I’m on it.”
  • “I’ll do it right away.”
  • “I knew that.”
  • “I’ve done that.”
  • “I’ll be there in five minutes.”
  • “I’m almost done.”
  • “Understood.”
  • “Yes.”

Deal with it.

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Research question in 3… 2… 1…

I met with my thesis director last week and –

No no no, don’t get excited. I still don’t have a research question. Come on – remember what blog you’re reading.

I'm having none of that shit.

But I did come up with a brand new idea and my director seemed to approve. Or at least it wasn’t the most stupid thing he’s ever heard of. We talked a bit about the data I had gathered and what it consisted of. I explained that I was quite intrigued by a certain theme that came up in the interviews a bit unexpectedly. It was something that kept repeating from interview to another but I didn’t notice until I transcribed them all and took another look of what I got. And there it was.

Ah mah gawd!

Instead of client responses, this theme revolves around the professional identity of a (tattooed) psychologist. There seemed to be a similar feeling of not quite fitting or belonging among the other psychologists that was common for all the interviewees, and this really struck me once I noticed it. I feel a bit dumb realizing this only now but I guess that’s how the shit hits the fan with interview researching; this topic wasn’t at all what I was looking for and came a little bit around the corner, so I suppose it’s understandable that I didn’t see it until it was right in front of me in a written form.

But I’m kinda excited, though! I mean, come on! Look at me, I made a discovery!


So this was the idea I presented to my director, and he saw an opportunity for researching around this topic and encouraged me to delve into it. So here I go! I’m not exactly sure of what I’ll find when I begin to analyse this topic further, but the research question is going to be something based on it in any case.

But now that the whole theme of the research changed I need to re-interview all my subjects.

…and that means more interviews to transcribe.


Oh hell no I’ve got to do it all over again. I just… This… I mean… I… No.

Right now I’m doing an initial analysis on the data I’ve gathered so far and I’m attempting to define the themes and categories rising in the interviews. After that I’m contacting the interviewees again and asking a bit about what they think about the themes and trying to get some more detailed information around the new topic. I’m praying to God and Buddha and Santa Claus and Easter Bunny that the interviewees are willing to have another round with me even though I mentioned nothing of this possibility the last time we spoke – because I genuinely had no idea I would go and turn this thing around so completely (for the misfortune of pretty much everybody).

I was not expecting this!

Oh, and my director also gently suggested that I really, really should start writing the actual master’s thesis already.

What.…come again? Start writing the what now?

Oh yes I had to report this research and write a paper on it and get a grade for it and graduate one day and what-not. Oh boy.

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