THESISCRAZY 2017 (PART 6): In Case One Thesis Just Isn’t Enough…

“My advisor is like, ‘You have time to figure that out!’ and I’m like, ‘I don’t feel like that is the case!’”

with my editor privileges i would like to interject here that this is the timeline of hawai?i history in my carrel that i made entirely out of post-it notes, with events color coded by type. —maya, 4/17/17 1:23 PM

What a knockout group of THESISCRAZY seniors to start off your Monday morning! In today’s installment, we have one of our fearless editors, a double-thesis-writer, housemates, and more! You can catch up with our past THESISCRAZY 2017 posts here, here, here, and here, and here, and you can find the entire archive here.

Prepare to be blown away after the jump!

Maia Nelles-Sager ‘17 FILM/THEA major, theses in each, carrel #452

Working title: “Yeah, I actually have two different theses in two different majors. Which is… yeah. It’s fine. It’s all going to be fine. I have a working title in one of them. In film I’m writing a criticism thesis, so I’m writing about seven movies in four genres and about normative masculinity and a feminist movie or one that changes the way in that they look at women. That one is called ‘Romance and Revenge, Gender and Genre in Modern American Hollywood.’ I’m also writing a musical in the theater department and that doesn’t have a title.”

On her topics: “The film one is about gender and feminist movies, and sort of how film treats men and women through the lens of genre. In cinema, men are often kind of unemotional and physically able. You feel for them through a woman’s love for them. I’m looking at Dark Knight, Mad Max, Fairfield Road, Ghostbusters, Superbad, Wolf of Wall Street, The Devil Wears Prada, and Frozen. In all of those films, they do something normal and something different for the genre.”

On how she came up with her topic: “I took film criticism last year, and I really, really liked it. I was talking to the professor about writing a capstone essay, and he was like, ‘You should just make this a thesis.’ Both of my advisors are the greatest ever. Neither of them know that I am doing two theses. It’s like a sitcom family situation. It’s going to be fine. I hope that it’ll be fine. For my theater one, I was in a musical theater workshop and I was taught how to write musicals. My friend Max Luton ‘17 wrote music, and we collaborated and found out that we were interested in the same topic. It’s a musical about angsty teenagers basically. Legitimizing teenage angst through the music that they listen to on stage. So it’s like of like 2000’s pop punk kind of post-chore genre stuff.”

On her current mental state: “It’s ok. I did all of the citations and the bibliography for my theater one. So it’s been really nice because I feel like I’m done with it. For my film one, I need to go through it and do a filmography of every film that I reference in the whole paper, which is an absurd amount of movies. It’s like 100, and I counted but I haven’t done it… yet. So every time that I think about it I kind of back away slowly.”

On her most upsetting thesis experience: “I haven’t really had any big moments. The first week over winter break I was writing and I was like, “Wow. I wasted a whole semester doing nothing.’ But I mean, doing the research is important.”

Favorite form of procrastination: “Watching The Office. I never really liked The Office but now I’m writing about gender in media and it’s like, ‘Oh, it’s terrible,’ but I kind of get a lot of catharsis out of watching it. It’s nice to be allowed to laugh about something, because I feel that my topics are so serious.”

On her plans for April 19th: “Get really drunk, hopefully. I have not purchased any alcohol, but I’m hopeful that I will be able to find two bottles of champagne in the next few days and go through them. One for each thesis.”

On her advice for future thesis writers: “I think that it’s all about the relationship that you have with your advisor. I only did the two theses because I got to work with two really incredible thesis advisors who are actually doing what I’m writing about in the real world. I can go to Quiara [Alegria Hudes] and be like ‘I don’t know what to do!’ and she’ll be like ‘Yeah, that’s ok. That’s how creative processes work.’ Yeah, you just have to find someone that you really like to work with. My other piece of advice is just don’t do two theses.”

On her favorite part of her theses: “The way that the theater thesis works is that you have to write a 30-40 page paper and a play. So, my play is like my baby. I also feel like it took me a long time to have a thesis of my thesis, because it’s kind of structured like a portfolio. They aren’t all necessarily connected, they just kind of fit under the same umbrella. Recently I was able to connect them, because all of my films are about not being normal, or treating women in a specific way. In movies you usually see women and men fall in love, or men adopting a daughter figure. And I think that the movies that are the best don’t have that. That was kind of a realization. One of my professors was like, ‘Oh, I hadn’t thought of that,’ and I was like ‘Oh my God, I’m contributing!’”

On if her thesis was a song/movie/TV show: “Well, Max and I have written 11 songs. So probably one of those because they really describe us through these fictional characters that we’ve created. Then he’s also introduced me to a bunch of really crazy and hardcore screamo songs. ‘Famous Last Words’ by Two Faced Charade, and ‘Bury Me Deep’ by the Rooks.”

On her most used phrase: “It’s a quote: ‘Formal devices are progressive only if they are employed with a goal beyond aesthetics alone.’ Which I think sums up both of my theses.”

On her thesesfeces: “Solid. In more ways than one.”

Maya Stevens ‘17 (aka Maya, our managing editor here at Wesleying) ENGL major, FREN minor, thesis in ENGL, carrel #205

Working title: “I don’t have a working title. My advisor is like, ‘You have time to figure that out!’ and I’m like, ‘I don’t feel like that is the case!’ But the problem is coming up with something catchy for the first part, and the second is something gross and boring like ‘Literary Representations of Multiculturalism and Mixed-Race Identity in Hawai’i Literature.’ They sent out the template of ‘the concise, yet evocative title of my thesis, by YOUR NAME, class of 2017,’ and I was like, ‘Ok. I don’t know how to answer that. I don’t know how successful I’ll be.’ Yeah… I’m really bad  at titles. I don’t have a working title, that’s the short answer.”

On their topic: “I’m looking at the ways in which literature has shaped public conceptions of what Hawai’i is in the rest of the United States. So, my first chapter is about a gross, racist 900 page book that was published in 1959 and billed as a historical novel and was really popular (it was written by the same guy who wrote Tales of the South Pacific). It kind of presented Hawai’i as like a multicultural utopia, and that image is what has persisted in the general American imagination. In my second chapter I look at more late twentieth century Hawai’i writers who try to write against that and create their own narrative in terms of creating a local literary canon. There are also some problems with inclusion, when that was happening which was mostly in the 1990’s. This was also when a lot of mixed-race studies were developing as an academic field in the US. So, my second chapter is looking at how successful all of this literary creation was in creating something that was more representative of what life in Hawai’i was like. The main problem that I found was that a lot of the writers who had made up this institutional local literary canon where all of these middle-class Asians, specifically of East Asian descent made up this weird racial dynamic in Hawai’i. They came from a relative place of privilege and a lot of these stories tended to either exclude or not include very kindly Native Hawaiians and Filipinos, as well as other marginalized ethnic groups in Hawai’i. So that’s chapter two, and in chapter three I’m looking at books published after 2010. I’m basically seeing if anything has changed. My answer is that things have changed, but not necessarily very much, or very well. It isn’t very researched outside of Hawai’i, and I think that writing this here, has been very difficult just because there aren’t a lot of people that I can really talk to who would know stuff about it, and I’ve had to make the library buy most of the books that I needed. They had most of the theory, but with the books I was like, ‘Please buy me this thing,’ and they were usually pretty fast about it which was nice. Yeah… it’s a huge project, and I’m kind of kicking myself half the time for picking something that is so big, but also like, I couldn’t have seen myself doing anything else.”

On how they came up with their topic: “I grew up in Hawai’i. I was born there and I am also mixed-race and this was always kind of my personal field of interest and I did a lot of my own reading on it. I declared my concentration in English in junior year, and I was focusing on race and ethnicity. I started to take a lot more of the classes that were in that concentration, and I noticed that a lot of the ways that Americans talk about mixed-race identity is along the lines of starting with the tragic mulatto trope and examining the history of American racism and slavery, which is very important, but my experiences with that have been very different. I started to do more of my own research about American mixed-race studies. I have a lot of anthologies in here, which really started my research. In some of them there is one essay about Hawai’i… like one, if there is one at all. Sometimes they are bad essays, sometimes they are like racist… sometimes eugenicist. Some of these books are from the mid 90’s, which is when a lot of the broader discussion of multiculturalism and mixed race stuff started to kick off. For example, like changing the census for the year 2000 so that you could mark one or more racial categories. I was reading a lot of this stuff, and I was like, ‘Hawai’i is really not in here, and when they do talk about it… it’s so like vague, and broad and overgeneralizing…’ and it made me really mad, so I was like, ‘I’m going to write about it,’ because there is so much more here, and it can’t be condensed into one essay. So that’s why I’m writing a thesis about it.”

On their progress: “Better than it was like two weeks ago. I feel like I have been perpetually behind, like behind schedule, for the past two months. I’m working on chapter three right now, and that’s my last chapter. After that I have to write an introduction and like an afterword type thing, just to sum up all my thoughts because I have more than what are here. I was supposed to finish chapter three over spring break, but I was like really stressed about about finding a job, and I also wasn’t here. I was in California over spring break because I was visiting people and freaking about about jobs, moving and figuring out how to afford living in the Bay area at some point. I was like not focusing on my thesis, and it’s just been a series of bad weeks. This week has been better. My progress is still not what I want it to be, but I think that’s just going to be what it is for a while.”

On their current mental state: “It’s ok. It’s kind of all over the place… like, I think that’s generally true for a lot of people. Yesterday I was in here for most of the day and I was like getting nauseous from all of the stress. I was just here squinting angrily at my computer screen and eventually I left, but I still got stuff done. It really depends on the day and how I’m feeling. I’m feeling ok today, but I think that’s because I’m mostly closer to finishing than what I thought I would be.”

On their most upsetting thesis experience: “The English department says that theses are supposed to be about 50-70 pages, and I spent all of last semester writing my first chapter, which ended up at 51 pages. I have yet to revise that chapter, actually. So my most upsetting experience might be revising that chapter. We’ll see. I remember that trying to get that done was a nightmare. There were so many things that I thought were really important, like a lot of historical aspects and I was like, “People aren’t going to know this, and it’s really important to understand the context of the novel,’ so I was writing a lot of stuff about statehood and annexation and post war travel writing… I also had a different thesis advisor last semester, and when I turned in she was like, ‘Ok. You already know this, but this is way too damn long. Just don’t think about it for a while and work on your second chapter.’ Then I switched advisors, and my advisor this semester finally just gave this chapter draft back to me and we went through it together, and we got to page 27 and she was like, ‘Ok. This is where you need to stop.’ Yeah… I have it in there, and it’s just this disgustingly heavy piece of writing that I don’t know what to do with. Fixing it is something that I have actively been avoiding for a while.  I have a lot of citations where there is no page number, and I’m like, ‘Ok…’ The thing about this project is that it is so immensely personal, that I never really see my research ending. I’m going to turn it in, but then I’m going to keep doing this. Probably for a while. Especially because as a result of doing this, I’ve realized how much more there is to be done, not only in the field of Hawaiian literary studies, but also for myself. I’m probably going to read this over in a few years and be like, ‘What was I thinking? That was so naive,’ but it is a good start. I just want something that I can turn in, that is relatively cohesive. It’s been really hard to separate myself from this thesis because it’s half an interrogation of my own personal background, and half a literary analysis which I think is generally really important. There is so much more emotional labor that I have had to do as a result of my topic. I was like, ‘I know that I’m going to have several existential crises over this thesis,’ but I wouldn’t have it any other way, really.”

On their favorite form of procrastination: “Usually it’s cleaning. I do a lot of stress cleaning. Yesterday I noticed a sticky spot, and I had to scrape it off. I spent like fifteen minutes doing that, and then I was like, ‘I shouldn’t be working on this.’ Yeah, cleaning. Or like reading other things about Hawaii that I will not necessarily include in my thesis. Or baking. I do a lot of stress baking.”

On their favorite thing to stress bake: “Just any large quantities of anything. I’ve been making brownies recently because they are really easy to make. I will probably bake myself a very large celebratory batch of cookies once I finish this thing. It’s just hard to find time to do that.”

On advice for future thesis writers: “I feel like a lot of the advice has already been said. Like, pick an advisor that you pick an advisor that you really like and can really be open with. Pick a topic that you like and can see yourself spending a year on and also be open to having your project change a lot. Even mine has changed a lot over the course of a year. For someone that is considering an academic project like this that is also a personal project, just be prepared for the amount of extra emotional work that it is going to be. You’re getting yourself into a lot, which I knew going in but it has been good because I have a lot of people in my life that I have been able to talk to about it, both from an academic standpoint but also from a personal one. I think my biggest piece of advice is to remember that you are not your thesis. I think that it is really easy to get caught up in the idea that your thesis is your magnum opus, and this representation of all of your self worth. I don’t think that’s very productive, and it’s been the biggest reason why I was having such a hard time a couple of weeks ago.”

On their favorite part of their thesis: “I like this chapter that I’m writing a lot more, just because it’s a lot more current, but I kind of wish that my whole thesis was this chapter. That’s also why I’m having so much trouble finishing it.”

On if their thesis was a book/movie/TV show: “I don’t think that there could be one about my thesis. My whole thesis is basically that a lot of media is bad. When you look at TV shows or movies about Hawai?i, they’re all bad. 50 first dates… and Elvis did a bunch of movies about Hawaii in the 60’s and it’s like, ‘Tourism, come to Hawaii… rah rah rah, white people!’”

On their most used phrase: “I feel like I’m beating ‘multiculturalist utopia’ over the head in my thesis because that’s the big narrative that I’m trying to debunk. I feel that I’ve proved enough that it isn’t a multicultural utopia and that every narrative that focuses on that idea is more about how Hawai?i’s multiculturalism serves US imperialism. I really wish that I didn’t have to write about stuff that makes me so angry, but at the same time it isn’t like I can’t not do that.”

On their plans for April 19th: “I’m going to sleep a lot. As much as I can, because I have to do job stuff right after. I have to fly to California like that weekend for interview and crap, so I’m not going to have much time to rest. I will be on the steps of Olin and that, but I’m probably going to crash pretty quickly, honestly.”

Lucy Rubin ‘17 FILM major, CEAS minor, thesis in FILM, no carrel

Working title: “It’s actually a final title! The film department makes us submit our titles way early for finalization of them, so my title is, ’Between Comedy and Despair: The House Style of Studio Shaft.’ There’s a colon in there, colons are important. *laughs* Only colons get honors!”

On her topic: “So I’m writing about the Japanese animation studio called Studio Shaft. They started a long time ago back in the 70’s, but only recently in 2004 they had a new head of the studio brought in. And since that happened in 2004, they’ve been really, really strong in essentially developing a house style, which is something that you don’t really see in a lot of anime studios, where there are certain visual calling cards and different kinds of narratives that they are drawn to as a studio. It’s the kind of thing where, if you’re watching a Shaft show, you’re like, ‘Oh, this is Shaft.’ Almost akin to if you’re watching a Wes Anderson movie and you’re like, ‘This is Wes Anderson.’”

On how she thought of her topic: “I’ve been wanting to write this thesis since my freshman year when I was in a course and I was writing about one show that this studio did called the Monogatari series. This paper was supposed to be like, a 10-12 page paper, and it turned into a 25-page paper. It was then that I kinda realized that I had a lot more to say on what I thought was just that show, and then that kind of expanded into really wanting to discuss the studio because I’d been a long-time fan of the studio.”

On her progress: “Other people tell me that it’s good, but I’m still, like, really stressed! *laughs* I had a full draft done before spring break, so then since spring break I’ve just been kind of editing and getting a lot of appendices done because I have a lot of screenshots and everything that I need to organize. Kind of balancing between all editing, and then kind of nitpicky stuff.”

On her current mental state: “A little manic… *laughs* Some days are better than others… I’m pretty stressed, but it’s the kind of stressed that I’m just plastering a smile to and hoping that it all just works out for the best.”

On her most traumatic thesis experience: “Okay, so over winter break I had planned to write two chapters, and I’d only planned to be back for maybe a week, and then just be back on campus writing. And the day that I got home for winter break, I went to a friend’s house and parked my car there, and somebody crashed into my parked car, totalling it. So then, not only could I physically not go back to campus because I didn’t have a car, but my winter break which was supposed to be spent doing my thesis was also split between working with my mom to get an insurance settlement and buying a new car.”

On her advice for future thesis writers: “Love your topic. Like, really, really love your topic. You pour so much of your heart and soul into really wanting to express your ideas for your thesis, so it should just always be something that people want to make you shut up about. That and like, getting a really awesome thesis advisor. My advisor is spectacular. She’s so helpful and so supportive, and she’s really into what I’m writing. She isn’t just advising me; she’s actually taken an interest in what my thesis is.”

Favorite form of procrastination: “I watch a lot of–well at this point I’ve completed them all–the YouTube channel You Suck at Cooking. They’re so good! *laughs* That and then before I’ll go to bed most nights, I’ll unwind by playing Persona 4.”

On her favorite part of her thesis: “Probably rewatching a lot of the different shows. Because this is a film thesis, I had to watch a lot of these shows multiple times, and when I was originally doing kind of my research stage, I was rewatching a lot of these shows that I had originally watched for pleasure from a more academic standpoint. It was so cool to, in rewatching them, to kind of affirm the ideas that I’d had about the studio, and then like rewatching them and being like, ‘Wow, yeah! That is, like, really true.’ And kind of going through that stage. And I still get to rewatch episodes a lot which is really fun because I love these shows!”

On if her thesis was a song/movie/TV show: “Oh gosh, that’s such a difficult question… probably if it was a song, I would probably go with any of the anime opening themes to any of the shows. Those pretty much encapsulate the shows. I mean, they are TV shows, so yeah, any of the opening themes. As for my experience writing it though, probably right now it’s been a lot of ‘Gotta Get Through This’ by Daniel Bedingfield. That’s like the song of this week. The Gorrilaz are what’s like, getting me through the thesis, but that’s like the mental state right now.”

On her plans for April 19th: “Olin stairs. *laughs* The film department has a meeting at five-o’clock that we have to go to. It’s whatever, it’s been a big topic of conversation, but I think it’ll be fine. And then I really just want to sit out on Foss with a bottle of champagne. I just really want to be outside.”

On any questions she wished we’d asked: “This is just like a funny encounter that’s kind of become a joke of this semester: I was at office hours with a professor and we were just talking, and then I was asked the question, ‘What is anime?’ And that just sent me on a panicked spiral because it was such a broad question, and I didn’t know how to answer it, even though it’s like, technically my thesis. So if you asked me ;What is anime?’ right now I would probably just cry.”

Ellie Black ‘17 CEAS major, FILM minor, thesis in CEAS, no carrel

Working title: “Oh god, um, right now it’s called… I didn’t have a title until like, two days ago, it’s called, like, ‘Crafting the First Fantasies: Something Something Something Something.’ It’s not a good title, it’s a work in progress.”

On her topic: “I’m doing a comparative analysis of Final Fantasy I and Final Fantasy VI, the Square games from the 80’s and 90’s. It’s mostly an aesthetic analysis, so just like games aesthetic analysis, a little bit about their context… *laughs* That’s that.”

On how she thought of her topic: “I’m really interested in game design and game studies, and since I’m an East Asian Studies major, I knew that I’d probably end up writing about Japanese games because the industry’s really big in Japan. It was just a gradual narrowing of my topics, like first I was gonna write about Japanese RPGs, and then I was gonna write about Square-Enix, and then I was gonna write about Final Fantasy, and then I was gonna write about Final Fantasies I-VI, and now I’m just writing about I and VI, just kind of based on realizing how much fucking material I was trying to take on and how specific I wanted to go with the scope. It was just a narrowing of my main interests.”

On her progress: “It’s been fine. I keep myself to task pretty well, so I’ve pretty much always been on top of it. Right now I’m very comfortably set unless shit hits the fan, which is very much a possibility, obviously. But I did another pass at everything yesterday and polished it up, and I don’t really have a ton left that I need to do to have a finished product.”

On her current mental state: “Whatever. *laughs* Yeah, I’ve been like… yeah, whatever.”

On her most traumatic thesis experience: “Okay, so I didn’t have a specific moment where I was like, ‘My Word document exploded,’ or whatever, but there were definitely many moments of powerful self-doubt throughout the process. Like, ‘Am I actually gonna see this through? Is this where I want to be spending my time?’ etc. Where it would just be like, a period of a couple days where I was just unsure about it. But what I found is that it was because I just hadn’t been working on it and I was feeling behind and I wasn’t being productive. And when I actually got back to digging into it, that problem solved itself. I had a pretty un-traumatic process. Unless shit hits the fan in the next few days. *laughs*”

Favorite form of procrastination: “Oh god……… that’s a hard one. Working on other assignments, telling myself they’re more important. You know, going out on the weekends… Basically I justify a lot of not working on my thesis by being like, ‘I’m a second-semester senior, I should be living it up!’ And finding excuses for unimportant things to be more important.”

On her advice for future thesis writers: “Stick to it, and I think, like, know your work habits. Know when you’re productive and what’s gonna get your shit done. It’s weird, there are a lot of variables that go into a project that’s this big that I didn’t really foresee, so I just think that staying on top of it and being prepared is all you can really do.”

On her favorite part of her thesis: “Ooh, I did a lot of really interesting reading. Because I’ve taken some design classes, but I’ve never really delved really deep into the game studies stuff that’s out there, and there are a lot of really cool things that are out there. I read some really interesting stuff, so, that was probably my favorite part.”

On if her thesis was a song/movie/TV show: “Oh man… I don’t know, I just like… I’m trying to think of something that will capture like… I don’t know maybe just… Why can’t I think of an answer for this question?! I don’t know, there’s a song called ‘I Don’t Think She Cares,’ and the chorus is like, ‘I don’t think she cares anymore.’ Sometimes I feel like that. The song’s by White Reaper. Yeah, ‘I Don’t Think She Cares Anymore’ by White Reaper. Not cause I don’t care, just because at this point, I’m kinda chillin’. This is a douchey interview, I feel like a douche.”

On her plans for April 19th: Lucy [Rubin ‘17], my housemate, and I went shopping for champagne yesterday. So yeah, I’m gonna run around, I’m gonna see all my friends who I haven’t seen recently… my plan is honestly just to go to the steps and then see everyone I know… in one day.”

On any questions she wished we’d asked: “No, I mean, anyone who is interested in my thesis should feel free to ask about it, cause it’s kind of cool to talk about it, but I doubt everyone is, so there’s no real reason to ask that question.”

Julia Zachary ‘17 ASTR/PHYS double major, Planetary Science minor, thesis in ASTR, no carrel

Working title: “I’ve had a working title since last year, and it is ‘Measuring the Local Interstellar Medium Along the Sightlines of the Two Voyager Spacecrafts with the Hubble Space Telescope.’ Yeah, there’s a lot in there.”

On her topic: “We got data from Hubble for four stars in total. The reason that this is important is that there are two stars per each sightline, and these sightlines correspond to the projected paths of the Voyager spacecrafts, which were launched back in the 70’s and are now drifting out into interstellar space, and we’re trying to determine the structure and physical properties of whatever is in between the spacecraft and their eventual destinations. We call them line of sight observations because it is a longer overview of local interstellar space. You can sort of use an analogy of a roadmap, we are like Google Maps because we provide the paths for what is ahead. Like, is there construction on the roads, should you avoid it. I mean, obviously they can’t avoid it. The spacecrafts themselves are taking pictures, so we are trying to combine some of our information and longer observational data with some of the stuff that the spacecrafts see and try to see if we can make any comparisons. So, yeah. There’s a lot going on and there is a lot of jargon that I didn’t use, but it is easier to understand that way, I guess.”

On how she thought of her topic: “I didn’t really, it was kind of handed to me. So, my thesis advisor is Seth Redfield and he always had a kind of repository of different projects. He does research on local interstellar space, we call it the ‘interstellar medium’ or ‘exoplanet atmospheres’. They are two very different areas of study, but he loves both, so he gave me a list of topics, some of which were still in progress and others which he hadn’t started on, and this one kind of just jumped out at me and I ended up picking it. It was kind of handed to me, but I also had some choice in what I wanted to do.”

On her progress: “I’m going to have five chapters total, and I’m pretty much completely done with four of them. The fifth one is just conclusions and future work and anything that I didn’t do that I want to do will go in there as well as any conclusions that I come up with. I’m in a good spot really, which is really nice but also just nerve-wracking.”

On her current mental state: “Frazzled? I’ve been pretty good, most of the time. I get pretty antsy sometimes, so sometimes I’ll go to the gym or go for a run or something and that usually helps. I mean, it’s ok. I’m stressed for sure, but it’s going to get done. I don’t have much to write, so it’s just a matter of putting the final touches on it, I guess. So my mental state is ok.”

On her most upsetting thesis experience: “I haven’t really had one. The data that we got from Hubble was only for four stars, which is not a lot and for a while I thought that two of those stars had data that wasn’t really useful. It turns out that there was some, but it isn’t as good as we hoped, which was kind of frustrating. It wasn’t a terrible thing, but it was kind of like, ‘There’s nothing I can do about it because I can’t really go to space and get better observations.’ I had no disasters or anything.”

Favorite form of procrastination: “Well, I definitely go on Facebook. Like, everyone’s got to check Facebook at least once in awhile. I sleep, you know, I could always stay here and do some work, but I go home and sleep. I cook. I cook dinner every night. My favorite form of procrastination is probably sleeping. That way I keep my mental state in a positive place, I guess.”

On her favorite procrastination meal to cook: “Oh that’s a good one. I don’t know. I love making stir frys. You just throw in some veggies. Especially co-op veggies! Get them, throw them in and then stir fry in. You just throw whatever in. Soy sauce… nothing fancy, you just have to be able to eat and it doesn’t take very long. The end result is also good. Now I kind of want to make a stir fry.”

On her plans for April 19th: “I have a bottle of champagne that is waiting to be opened. So that’s definitely going to happen. I’ve been waiting to get to the Olin steps. That’s always a good destination. I remember as a freshman, watching all of the seniors celebrating and I was like ‘Oh! If I do a thesis, I get to do that!’ And now four years later, I’m going to do it. So yeah, the champagne and then I have to run a TA session that night. But yeah, and then probably more sleep.”

On her favorite part of her thesis: “I don’t know. I like the writing part, I like the research. I’m not as good with the computational stuff. There was somewhat of a learning curve, but once I got past that it was ok. I guess I had a pretty cool breakthrough last week, where a lot of things came together and it gave me the result that I was hoping for, and that was really exciting because I had been having some problems with that part of the analysis process. Once I came up with this idea, the implement of it, and it was the thing to do… that was pretty exciting. I was floating on a cloud for most of the day. That was really nice. It was kind of a last minute thing, obviously since it was last week but it was nice to have that validation at the very end like, ‘Hey, I can do science!’ But yeah, I like the whole thing. I’m pleased with how it turned out. I’ve always liked writing, so I don’t mind doing the research and the background stuff, so that is always fun.”

On the her research processes and equipment: “I do a lot of coding and some of it is just using programs that people have already run, and other parts is just manipulating them to suit my purpose. I used python script to calculate quantities, and it isn’t difficult, it’s just math, but it is nice not to have to always plug numbers in. Also, my calculator is dead, so… With the data that I’ve been using it’s just a matter of learning the different things, like different wavelengths of light, and what does this jump in flux mean…”

On her most commonly used phrase: “Sometimes with all of the jargon that we use, it’s kind of hard to understand and we don’t want to confuse people.”

On her most confusing phrase: “Oh man. I have some good ones in here. I wonder if I can find one while I’m just looking through this. Here’s a good one: ‘geocoronal absorption.’ That’s a pretty good one, I guess.”

On advice for future thesis writers: “Start early. Find out what you want to do, and then get really involved with it. I mean, I didn’t start until the end of junior year, really beginning of senior year but I did write my intro last semester. That was part of the plan, because there is a lot of stuff to be done and if you can get that out of the way then you don’t have to think about it. Some people like to do it at the end, but I think it’s just best to set up what you want to do for your readers. Especially if I were to give a copy to my parents then I would give them the information that they need in order to understand the rest of what I’ve done. In general just stay calm. It’s not going to help if you freak out. I’ve just got to keep going and take one day at a time. One day at a time. If I get frustrated with things, I don’t always hack away at it. I just go away and then come back and hack at it. Usually that’s helped. That’s the advice that I have.”

On how to get more science majors involved in Thesiscrazy: “We just don’t leave the observatory. We basically live here. [Anonymous Officemate: “I have a blanket and I just sleep here”] Yeah, he does sleep here. It’s just a matter of people reaching out to you. Sometimes it’s better if you hear a specific thing about a person’s work along the grapevine and then getting in contact with them directly. Emailing a specific professor might not always be the best, because not every professor has thesis students. It would be nice to have more people participate, because I think that we do some really interesting things up here. It’s just a matter of seeing the email and taking the incentive. We’re all still making plots and finishing edits and doing more coding, and it’s a matter of just getting people interested. Hopefully people actually read what I have to say and then they’ll be like, ‘Oh, Julia did this. Maybe I can do this next year when I’m a senior and writing my senior thesis in Astronomy.’”


Interviews by midmar and michelle.

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