To Thesis or Not to Thesis. There’s really no question here.
Writing a thesis is hard. I won’t mince words, it sucks.
It doesn’t matter how interesting the topic is, how well I know the material, or how many books I read. Every time I open that word document my mind goes as blank as that page. Damn that blinking cursor.
It’s a terrifying case of writer’s block that means I’m simply stuck.
I just finished the third outline for this monstrosity and hey, it looks great. I actually know most of what I’d need to write in order to make this work. I have grand plans. I usually do, right before I start staring off into space and come to realize that it’s three in the morning and all I’ve succeeded in doing is letting my ramen congeal. I didn’t know ramen could congeal. Trust me, it can.
A thesis represents the culmination of your graduate career. The last major paper that will prepare you for a lifetime of writing reports that will be exactly the same but potentially less interesting because you may not have control over the topics you’ll write about. It is also, I’m told, a great doorstop/computer prop/bookshelf booster. Otherwise, “The best thesis is a finished thesis” is apparently the mentality to take. Or so I’ve been advised.
Somehow I can’t manage to distance myself from this though. I care. I like my study area. I’m attached, so to speak. It’s my baby. (Metaphorically of course. Though it does wake me up at five in the morning mostly with spontaneous epiphanies that are gone before I can locate a damn pencil. I’m the one crying.)
Additionally, there’s my family. I take pride in where I come from and the people that have gotten me here. They want to read my thesis. And I want it to be something that they can be proud of me for creating.
Such weight! The magnitude of it!
In fifteen minutes I have a meeting with a committee member who may hack and slash my paltry 17 pages in half, rewrite my outline, and throw me into the abyss of an entirely new topic. Please, gods, have mercy. I don’t even know Who to pray to anymore. There are no gods for theses. Only my committee. Please, gods.
Jude might be appropriate. Lost causes? I might just be that.
A thirty minute discussion with one committee member accounts for a brand new stack of about 8 books on my desk and a suggestion that I read them and get back to him in about two weeks with a broader research statement. Nothing gets cut! Support materials are wonderful.
Good thing I like books or I’d be miserable here.
In addition to writing a thesis I have one class this semester, a less than 100 level course at that: Effective Scholarship, which by the way, is a waste of time for me but gets the school funding for research. I can complain but I can’t really complain. And given that one of the course requirements is that there can be no homework outside of class, I really shouldn’t complain. Except that it’s a waste of time. How many ethics classes do we have to take before it’s been drilled into our brains? Don’t plagiarize? Pfft. I knew that in sixth grade. At a graduate level you’d think we’d have moved past that. And since there are no human test subjects in my research, there’s really nothing to discuss. Can I have human test subjects? Please? It’d make my life way more interesting and this course slightly more relevant.
Eh, you can’t have everything though. Human experimentation in archaeology? Who wants to volunteer to be mummified tomorrow? Anybody? Field trip to the Body Farm? My curiosity is entirely professional. Or completely morbid. I’ll admit.
I bet there are non-lethal excuses for using humans in a research context in archaeological studies but mummification would be so much cooler.
I’m a terrible person.