Grad School Diary: Behind the Scenes of Writing my Thesis


C'EST FAIT! I mean the writing part. The paper has been submitted. Now I wait to see if I graduate in June. A spring graduation sounds lovely, yes? But life feels weird. It feels strange that I am not writing this paper anymore. The thesis became so much a part of my life that it feels weird not having to arrange my life around it anymore.

Here is how it went: In the beginning when I could not even understand my thoughts––all I knew was that I was interested in examining sin through love from the perspective of Julian of Norwich––I listened to Vivaldi (I find music helpful when I am writing research papers and I have several excellent albums in my iTunes from an ex who had great taste in music). I love Vivaldi for when I am confused. He sorts you out very well.

When my thoughts started gaining shape, I went to Bach; He is helpful when one is in between things. When I went blank and could not think of anything to write, I listened to Isabel Beyrakdarian. Then for revision I used Coltrane! I was so tired during the last days of my paper and I really needed something festive to help me finish.

Then when I submitted the paper I went to Queen. I sort of think of "Bohemian Rhapsody" as an anthem. And a celebration does not feel proper until it starts with Queen. But right now I have Albin de la Simone's album "Un homme" on repeat to help me recover. Due to this wonderful album I am under the assumption that I can actually speak French. Salut! ^_^

But more importantly, I could not have finished the paper if I was not so lucky to have had Prof. Masciandaro as my advisor. It is such a compliment to have such a brilliant professor reading one's drafts and it made me want to try just a little harder. Also he allowed me to shape the paper in the manner that I wanted and did not even blink at my wild theories, nor at the frequency that I changed my thesis topic. Over the cause of my education, I have been very lucky to have had some amazing teachers who made great impact on me, but I feel like I needed to meet this guy. Observing him, listening to him, and reading his (beautiful!) work has inspired me to make better efforts in traveling my own path.

All I drunk was strongly brewed pots of earl gray black tea. But it was not all that I actually drunk. There were several cups of hot cocoa, for bad days and to celebrate milestones, and because...well, some of us suffer certain addictions. But on awful days when I was certain I could not possibly write the paper because I felt I knew nothing on the topic and was absolutely wrong to pursue the subject, and, therefore, believed that I had taken on way too much, I made what I call the wicked milkshake. Ohhh this is sooooooo good. And one cannot have too much of it. Now, this milkshake gives the best kind of brain freeze. And once you have worked your way through a couple of good brain freezes, it is impossible to not find yourself optimistic again. You feel like you can conquer anything! So you must stop yourself from running out into the street screaming "bring it on! bring it onnnnn!" and channel all that good energy into your writing. Good times.

But it is all over now and I do not know what to do with myself. I seem to have forgotten how life went before the paper. All the same, I have been celebrating (a little too much :D) because it is not everyday that one writes a decent thesis. So whether it passes or not I say WOOT to a successful semester!

-
Jane



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