The first full draft of my thesis is due on Friday. As in this Friday, March 29. Like, in two days.
That is a terrifying statement. And yet, it is also kind of exciting, which is why I am taking a break from working on my thesis to write about writing my thesis (it’s so meta over here). My thesis is never allowed to be too far from my mind.
Why is it exciting? Well, at this point it still has a lot of holes, like potential gaps or disconnects or inconsistencies in the arguments and a lot of things that still say “find source!” But it is also already 105 pages. That’s a lot of pages. I still have a bit more to write but it’s actually coming together, and the end is in sight.
It is also exciting because at the beginning, I really had no idea what I was doing. How do you even approach a project of this magnitude? This is the longest thing I will have ever written. Sometimes it was and still is hard to force myself to get to it. I probably should have done more research and worked on it more consistently, but what can I say? Life got in the way.
But now I kind of understand what it means to have put a lot of thought, time, and long-term effort into one project. It took a while to get momentum going, but now that I have some momentum and something to show for my efforts, it doesn’t seem quite as scary. Sitting down and churning out five pages in a couple hours is now no big deal.
At the end of this I will have a huge, bound and fancy-looking entity that I get to say I created. I did that. And the process is, in its own ways, pretty cool. I get to focus on whatever topic I want. I get to look at any sources—books, films, TED talks, cartoons—I choose and read or watch of them what I think is relevant rather than what someone else assigned, go in any kind of direction I decide, and structure an argument around it. I have a kind of ownership over these ideas now.
And I could spend so much more time working on it than I have, which means I’m not bored of it yet and there is a lot to explore. I have time to iron out the kinks (hopefully), to read a draft months after I first wrote it and give it a (sort of) objective critique. It’s not something I dashed off quickly or wrote because someone told me to. It’s something that I have crafted. And hopefully at the end of it all, it will be something that I am really proud of.