Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I Gave Birth to a Thesis!

So many people that I know are getting married or having babies lately.  I just had a thesis.

Aw, isn't he cute?  He has my eyes.

Mere minutes ago, I turned in the three copies of my 97-page baby to their new foster parents (my thesis committee).  Having pulled another all-nighter in order to accomplish this feat, I now want to flop over in a dead heap.  But, no such luck.  There's work and then travel (I'm off to Atlanta tonight).  Oh well; there'll be time enough to sleep when I'm dead!

Only five more days until I defend (shudder)!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Did I Really Just Write That?

I'm in a state of shock at the moment.  As of 10:00 am today, the horrible, monstrous, insidious, ill-formed offspring of my feeble mind, also known as my thesis, which has plagued me like a host of ten thousand camels tap-dancing on my shoulders in combat boots, is finally written.  I actually wrote a thesis.  I contributed something original, something on a topic which has not been covered, to the field of history.  Forgive me while I faint.

Okay, had to get that out of my system - the faint, not the shock.  No, I'm still in shock.  I honestly never thought I'd be able to do it.  I mean, have you ever considered what actually goes into writing a thesis?  It is no ordinary paper.  No reading a few books and then jotting down what you learned.  For my thesis, I read 62 books, countless journal articles, more than 1,000 pages worth of US foreign affairs cables, more than 2,000 pages of declassified OSS documents, several US presidential executive orders, and a couple dozen newspaper articles.  Oh, and I did that this semester . . . the same semester that I wrote the thesis.  That would be why I am just now finishing the creature.

It's an odd sort of feeling, looking at the stack of pages that I created.  I'm not sure yet whether to tenderly regard it as my beloved child or as a grotesquely mutilated fetus that somehow survived to make it out of the womb.  I suppose I shall have to reserve judgment until my committee has reviewed the creature.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bat Wings! Yea!

It's so hard to believe that it's almost over.  Graduation is in just over five weeks.  One chapter remains to be written of the (evil) thesis, as well as an introduction and conclusion.  Everything else is done!  The classes have been finished for months.  There are no papers other than thesis left to write.  I have one poster session left to enter (hurray, my proposal was accepted).  The GPA is a solid 4.0 and cannot be injured.  Today I went to the bookstore and picked up my regalia: the gown with bat wings, the masters' hood, the cap, the tassel, and the stole (I'll get my "High Distinction" gold medal later).  It's exhilarating and nerve-wracking all at once.

I have HOW little time left to finish and defend this blasted thesis?!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Inspired by the Great Pencil Massacre

 Inspired by the past few days of sharpening pencils for Assessment Day (I sharpened a grand total of 3,680!), the poet in me felt the need to compose a few soothing limericks:

There once a girl named Stephanie
Who had pencils ‘far as she could see.
Though she coughed from the lead
She kept plunging ahead,
Stephanie and her sharpeners three.

Poor Stephanie had pencils galore,
And boxes piled up with e’en more!
She sharpened each one
Till the whole pile was done,
Then, exhausted, collapsed to the floor!

Three sharpeners sat on a desk
Each acting quite statuesque
When the pencils in their stead
Started shedding their lead
And turned the act into burlesque

A grad student working at LU
Had numerous odd jobs to do.
Her bulging resume
Had a great deal to say
When at last she bid them adieu!

Thousands of pencils sat waiting
While the sharpeners kept on grating
Said a pencil to his friend,
“Dear, this is the end,
For I fear that my size is abating.”

One day I had pencils to grind
Till the noise put me out of my mind.
The whole office cheered
As the last pencil was sheared,
But cried when Dr. Letting resigned.

There once was a girl in IE
Who went on a sharpening spree.
Poisoned by the lead,
She went nuts in her head,
And was quarantined by CDC

A proud student of academ-ese
Found her brain beginning to freeze.
Though she loved her subject,
She began to suspect,
She was killing herself by degrees.

"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"