THESISCRAZY PART 2: Olin $W@G

Plans for April 12: “Getting really drunk and then going to see Spring Breakers.

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To get this out of the way: yes, I don’t have any science students in this lovely Part 2; I do, however, have a Classics major (and I guess those are more rare?). But exciting news: we will definitely probably most likely kinda sorta have some science kiddies in our next post (Science people, OPEN YOUR CARRELS TO US. WHERE DO YOU LIVE?!?!).

Read after the jump to see more THESISCRAZY seniors. For previous THESISCRAZY installments, click here. To see our very nice 2013 THESISCRAZY Part 1, check it out here.

Alex Ray ’13, CCIV, carrel #206

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Working title: “I don’t have a title.” [laughs] “That’ll probably be the last thing I do. It’ll probably have the word ‘ass’ in it though, which is good because I’m writing about a book called The Golden Ass. So I’m looking forward to that.”

On his topic: “I’m writing about the use of the first person voice in this novel called Metamorphoses in Latin/The Golden Ass in English. It was written in the second century. So I’m looking at the use of the first person and focusing on legal speech and looking at this genre of literature called declamation as kind of an influence on that.”

On his progress: “Well, I’m partially enrolled. So, I have a couple of jobs, but I’m only working on this. I’m pretty on top of things, definitely less stressed than other people I know who are writing theses. I can basically work on it whenever I want, I can sleep in. I take naps in here a lot. I’m not that stressed.” [laughs]

On being partially enrolled: “It’s awesome. I would recommend it to anyone. The school doesn’t want you to do it, so that gives you an indication of how awesome it is. Obviously, you have a lot more free time, you can make your own schedule, you can leave campus a lot, which is nice.”

Most traumatic thesis experience: “I was taking classes last semester, and so I wrote about a fraction of what I was supposed to, so by the end of the semester, I had not reached my goal that my advisor and I had set page-wise. So yeah, she was like, ‘I can’t give you a grade until you submit, like, twenty more pages.” And this was after the semester ended, so I had just driven to Chicago and I ended up flying home and then driving immediately here by myself. I hunkered down and that was the more insane part. I just had to write a lot in a very short amount of time over break. I was here on, like, New Year’s Day and stuff. It was bad. I mean, I did that to myself, I guess. I kind of banked on being able to do most of it this semester anyway.”

Advice for future thesis writers: “Definitely partially enroll if you can. It’s a lot of fun and less stress. I would also say choose an advisor who you’re kind of already buddies with so it becomes easier. Your advisor will just tell you straight up, ‘This doesn’t make any sense, cut it out or change it.’ Some people’s advisors are too nice to them and they wish they had more direction.”

Plans for April 12: “Probably drink a bottle of wine and roll out of bed and start the day. Then drink more…”

Jaimie Nguyen ’13, HIST, carrel #360Screen Shot 2013-04-04 at 11.47.30 PM

Working title: “From Colonialism to Communism: A Family History”

On her topic: “I’m writing a memoir of my great-grandmother, but it’s kind of a general family history as well and it’s taking place in Vietnam, using her life span as a time frame from 1917 in Vietnam until 1974 and coming to America. That period in Vietnamese history is really culturally and politically tumultuous, so it’s colonialism, post-colonialism, communism, the Vietnam War, stuff like that.”

On her progress: “Slowly but surely. I don’t know, I tried to heed everyone’s advice of ‘Start early!’ and ‘Write everyday!’, but I didn’t really do that, and because my thesis really interview-based, it took me a really long to just transcribe the interviews and stuff like that. So I’m still writing. Not quite editing yet.

Most traumatic thesis experience: “Probably just realizing that my family isn’t documented anywhere because they weren’t important at all. I just kinda thought, ‘Oh yeah, the French kept really meticulous documents, I’m sure that someone’s name is in there somewhere!’ and then just realizing that a lot of primary sources don’t end up being helpful at all.”

The last sentence she wrote: “Upon seeing his newborn daughter, Tribon claims that she looks too Asian to possibly be his child, and he abandons the family.” (“Wow, that’s depressing…”)

Advice for future thesis writers: “Just don’t do it. No, just decide really early, like the summer before, what you want to write about and just think of what you’re arguing or what you’re trying to say. I feel like there’s a lot of things that I’m saying and then everyday I just have to remind myself, What am I arguing? Just do what everyone else says! Start early.”

Plans for April 12: “Poppin’ bottles on the steps of Olin.”

Sam Ebb ’13CSS, carrel #445IMG_2220

Working title: “The Economic Inequality of Turnout: Compelling a Solution”

On his topic: “I wanted to figure out a way to fix inequality of democracy and I was trying to find a way to limit the electorate at first, and I tried to talk to my advisor about those ideas and they all ended with completely ending democracy, so the way to fix that without ending democracy was making democracy complete. And that ended up being compulsory voting, which is what I’m writing about, as a mechanism for fixing some of the socioeconomic inequality in the electoral system.”

On his progress: “I have finished a draft and now I’m waiting with bated breath to get comments back before delving full speed ahead into the editing process. So, I’m kinda sorta editing right now, but it’s tough to motivate myself to do so before I have more extensive comments on the four chapters that I don’t have comments on from my advisor yet.”

On his most traumatic thesis experience: “Realizing at the end of spring break that I had to completely reconstruct two chapters that I thought I had written and completely reconstruct my introduction, which meant that there’s literally approximately two pages that I wrote before winter break that I’m keeping. That and realizing that I had to write over sixty pages during spring break.”

The last sentence he wrote: “While there are some examples of equal involvement of all shareholders in the particularly localized areas of American government, as Archon Fung shows in his study of a Chicago school board, this mechanism of creating a form of participatory Athenian polis is not replicable on the national scale.”

Advice to future thesis writers: “Finish all your reading before spring break. You’ll live even if you don’t end up keeping anything from first semester, but it’s not the best way to do it.”

Plans for April 12: “Celebrating with all of my friends followed by lots and lots of sleep… followed by a lack of direction and then a resumed freaking out about not having a job yet. And ‘freaking out about not having a job yet’ will probably come on April 13th… unless I don’t wake up until the 14th.”

Emma Pattiz ’13AMST, carrel #422Screen Shot 2013-04-04 at 11.49.25 PM

Working title: “Oh gosh, I don’t know… It has to be something snappy. Something along the lines of ‘Affordable Elderly Housing: A Device for Community Revitilization.’ Something like that.”

On her topic: “I know somebody who lives in a building in Brooklyn, an affordable elderly building, and I was curious about the architecture of it and whether or not it’s a common housing type. So I’m focusing on this one building in Brooklyn and I’m pulling in other national examples and examples in New York City and showing that this housing type is proliferating. And it’s responding to the economic and social needs of this growing elderly population at the moment.”

On her progress: “I think it’s good… I was here pretty much all break working, so I feel better. But I’m waiting on edits, so yeah. I don’t feel horrible.” [laughs]

On her most traumatic thesis experience: “I have really weird dreams, but nothing really traumatic has happened, I guess. I talked to somebody who disproved my entire idea, but I can’t say it’s been pretty traumatic so far. I know that’s not what you want to hear!”

On sharing a carrel: “I share it with Caitlin Aylward ’13. We don’t run into each other a lot here… I don’t know why. But it’s been pretty okay. I’ve realized that people working very differently. But I use her tissues sometimes…”

Favorite form of procrastination: “For a while I was looking for jobs. Also, one of my best friends has a carrel [right next door], so I’ll just climb up on the desk and talk to her.”

Advice for future thesis writers: “It’s really not that bad if you don’t make it your life. I mean, I say that now, but who knows what the next two weeks will hold? Also, don’t be so hard on yourself!”

Jesse Ross-Silverman ’13, CSS, carrel #362IMG_2242

Working title: “Towards an American Economic Democracy: The Function of Public Policy in the Democratization of Work” (“But that uses the word ‘democracy’ twice in one title, so maybe not…”)

On his thesis: “It’s basically about what is the function of the law and state power in facilitating cooperative labor management relations or alternately stated, encouraging worker participation in corporate governments. So, it’s starting with the philosophy of economic democracy, which is a set of values that says that business should be organized democratically and asking, how does that actually come about? So it’s asking, what can the state do specifically in the American context of how American legal institutions affect the way that business work, how can you make work a democratic activity?”

On his progress: “I have at least a draft of everything. I’m going through it right now. My first chapter probably has the most content stuff to revise. I’m having to revise some stuff because when I was starting out, I was still figuring out what I was actually writing about, so now that I’m looking back on it, I’m realizing, ‘I could say this all way, waayyy better.’ So I think that will be the hardest revision stuff to do, and the rest is mostly more proofreading. However, I’m still waiting on forty pages of written stuff that I haven’t gotten back from my advisor yet because I just handed it in a week ago.”

Current mental state: “I think I’m probably less stressed than I should be. I only really get stressed out right before deadlines. And I already decided that I’m not gonna base my whole self-worth on whether or not this is the best piece of writing in human history. I still have a lot of work to do, and the more I do it, the more I realize I have to do, which is why it’s kind of a scary thing. It makes you not want to start because every time you look back on it, you feel like you’re digging yourself deeper into a hole.”

Advice for future thesis writers: “Don’t do it just to do it; do it because you feel like if you didn’t do a big academic project, then there’d be something missing from your college career. It’s just like another class, but it’s like a class where you can learn about anything that you want. So, if you could take a class on anything that you want and then do something with it, what would that be? You might as well do something you’re not going to get sick of.”

Plans for April 12: “Getting really drunk and then going to see Spring Breakers.”

Are you freaking the fuck out about your thesis and want to tell someone? Do you want to meet the people who brought you #THESISWHY on Twitter? Email us at staff(at)wesleying(dot)org and tell us where/when to stop by.

3 thoughts on “THESISCRAZY PART 2: Olin $W@G

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