Holy Crap, it’s DONE

If I were a good grad student, this would be a post about how parting with a thesis is emotional, how finally handing it in all wrapped up in its pretty bindings is terrifying and sad and exhilarating. I would probably use a metaphor involving a child.

A thesis is meant to be a pet project – something you have a love-hate relationship with, you’ve dedicated months (years if we’re talking phd) of research to, and which has consumed you entirely. My thesis was a thing I had to write to graduate (just a long essay). Its purpose was to tick a box on the degree checklist, and I knew it needed to involve something historical-linguisticsy. I metaphorically plucked a topic out of a bag of topics at random and then wrote 9,725 words about it (as close to the minimum word count as I dared to skate).

Knowing you’re in the wrong degree in the wrong subject and doing something that you find only mildly interesting and then having to produce a major research project on that topic is, to use the words of my supervisor, soul-destroying (he was talking about something else entirely). It’s a terrific phrase. It so very thoroughly describes how painful writing that thesis was. If I give you the mental image of me literally scraping the words out of my head, you might begin to understand what a painful process this was. I died a little every time I opened the document, and I feel absolutely no connection to the words I put on the screen (okay, well I may have formed some thoughts I’m rather interested in, but that’s as close as it got).

I am really not looking forward to my viva on Wednesday with Geoff Horrocks and Torsten Meißner (who I think are rather likely to give me a hard time), and I’m only looking forward to my presentation tomorrow because presentations are fun and because any college event organized by James Clackson is automatically a very nice and classy affair.

Anyway, it’s in. It’s submitted. And I spent twelve hours yesterday drinking and frolicking with friends. I also dedicated my thesis to Athena because I’m going to need every bit of luck I can get.

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5 comments on “Holy Crap, it’s DONE

  1. John Cowan says:

    Well, my experience with the B.A. Hons. thesis was that the people who cared deeply about the thesis didn’t get it written because of their perfectionism (that would be me) and ended up graduating sine Hons., whereas the people who saw it as just another job of work did get it written. So maybe you had the right attitude after all.

    • Well, the MPhil is a research degree, so I think I was actually supposed to care about it. The Cambridge MPhil is supposed to create an academic haven for a year of dedicated research….I just realized early on that it wasn’t a thesis I wanted to do, so I became incredibly good at putting it off. In my case, the fact that it was a job to get done was incentive to procrastinate. That being said, it’s been a good experience for me to have had, and I have learned quite a lot while working on it. Still, I’m really looking forward to doing a taught degree next year so I can feel more like a classicist than a misplaced linguist :P

  2. Adarsta says:

    Congratulations!!

    The people that I know who do love their research, don’t love the writing and publishing part of it. It takes away from valuable research time. :) Additionally, even if you do love what you are writing about, and are putting yourself into your writing, by the time you get close to being done you don’t care anymore and, for the love of everything, you just want it to be over and done with because it’s gone through so many edits and you keep writing the same thing over and over and over again and changing that one sentence that just won’t say what you want it to say without sounding clunky and you haven’t slept in days and, please, let this writing part be over already! (Also, I haven’t written my thesis yet. I am not looking forward to it. Bleh.)

    • Lol! yeah, that’s part of it. Good luck with the thesis! The other part is that I realized that I just really didn’t want to dedicate my life to historical linguistics. I’m going to start an MA in the fall and then get a teaching cert, because as I recall, I’ve wanted to teach since I was 2yo anyway.

  3. […] sculpture is epitomized in the giant Athene sculpture you may remember I dedicated my thesis to (in this post). Here’s a better photo of her from the side: Amelung’s […]

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