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Unrelated to applications: Who else is working on their thesis?


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hey i know this thread is a bit dead but I'm struggling with my thesis. I can't get anything done b/c i'm not motivated, but also i'm a little confused as to what in hell i'm supposed to be doing. I'm supposed to be working on a proposal but... the sample I was given i guess left a lot to be desired. So i'm confused.

also i'm supposed to be graduating with my MA in the summer... does any one think this might made doctorate programs not want to accept me b/c of the close schedule? I'm beginning to think that even if I got accepted, a program might not like how close the dates are for my MA being conferred and their program starting. Thoughts?

ps. I'm exhausted.

I can't speak for your program's requirements, but I know how daunting creating the proposal can be. My suggestion is to decide what author(s) or text(s) you plan to work with, then find a direction (what critical lens you want to use, a problem you want to work out, etc.). Our proposals were due a year before graduation, so they didn't have to be terribly specific as long as you had a sense of what you wanted to write about. We were also required to include a reading list of texts, scholarly articles, etc. that we intended to use for the thesis. My proposal was maybe five pages by the time I was finished, and my thesis director asked that I be very specific (compared to what other directors wanted). I hope some of that is useful for you. Best of luck!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sweet Lord of the Rings, I'm so far behind on my thesis it's ridiculous. Time to crank it up and crank it out! Got one chapter done, and my goal is to finish another chapter this weekend then the third/final one by the following weekend...

Uh huh.

Edited by bespeckled
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After many passive aggressive comments made by my thesis director (he compared my thesis to the Loch Ness monster, some people believe it exists and there is "proof," but until he saw it with his own eyes he wouldn't believe it), I just submitted my hot mess of a rough draft. I feel better knowing that his punishment is now to read it and respond.

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I need to make a 0% Confidence I Will Ever Get Over My Thesis Writer's Block thread.

Yes, you do. I didn't know the meaning of writer's block until I started this project. What the fuck, man. Where does this come from.

I wrote 15 pages of nonsense in a fueled panic the other night. Does any one else struggle with a weird stop-and-start approach to their thesis?

I'm the same way. It's been way more "stop" than "start," but I tend to get into something like a writing mood and will write all the things. Other times I would liken getting one word out to pulling one tooth out.

Sweet Lord of the Rings, I'm so far behind on my thesis it's ridiculous. Time to crank it up and crank it out! Got one chapter done, and my goal is to finish another chapter this weekend then the third/final one by the following weekend...

Uh huh.

What's schedule, precious? What's schedule, eh?

After many passive aggressive comments made by my thesis director (he compared my thesis to the Loch Ness monster, some people believe it exists and there is "proof," but until he saw it with his own eyes he wouldn't believe it), I just submitted my hot mess of a rough draft. I feel better knowing that his punishment is now to read it and respond.

Girl, you need to get yourself a less snotty advisor. Writing a thesis is punishment enough!

My thesis is due in a month. Here I am.

Edited by Julianne Pigoon
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This is the one area of my academic life that I actually feel on top of. Knowing that I was going to have an absolutely insane Spring semester, I worked like mad over Winter Break and had my first draft of my thesis ready to go on day one of the semester. My director is in the process of transitioning to be the new chair, so he really appreciated having the extra time to review drafts. I'm currently working on draft #3 and hopefully will be able to get a couple more done before it's due in the middle of April.

What I'm doing is analyzing the tarot reading in The Waste Land through a cultural studies perspective. I'm arguing that Madame Sosostris's reading is the "Western" reading, the one that Eliot didn't intend to be the true one, and that there is a secondary, "Eastern" reading spread out through images in the remainder of the poem (the "one-eyed merchant," a/k/a the Six of Pentacles, is shown through the figure of Mr. Eugenides, for example). I've been very pleased with how it's coming along, which is certainly more than I can say for my application results. :wacko:

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I'm about 2/3 of the way done with my undergraduate thesis. I've got about 30 pages left to write and then polish. Mine's on cross-dressing in 19th-Century American Women's writing... lots and lots of Judith Butler. I've had a good time writing it, but it's been really hard. Thank God I have the greatest thesis advisor ever. I hope it helps make my MA thesis a little easier. :)

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I'm about 2/3 of the way done with my undergraduate thesis. I've got about 30 pages left to write and then polish.

~90 pages for an undergrad thesis? Is that a requirement? My minimum is 35.

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Nope! I'm being ambitious. I'm trying to write a master's level thesis. My first chapter was my writing sample, so I wanted it to be thorough and lengthy. Plus, my thesis advisor has high expectations. I'm glad, though. Although I have spent an inordinate amount of time crying/feeling like a dumbass. It was particularly hard for me, on my first chapter, to apply the theory to the poems I was analyzing. I went to a graduate feminist theory class for one of the Butler days, but that was the only help I got.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Defending in two days. Despite a few moments of anguish and, yes, the occasional bout of writer's block, I actually surprised myself by staying on top of self-imposed deadlines. My (master's) thesis proposes a reappraisal of three novels by Malcolm Lowry, a late modernist most famous for the novel Under the Volcano (1947) and his alcoholism. Basically, using a theoretical apparatus that incorporates cultural anthropology (the concepts of liminality and the transnational are central) and postcolonial theory (its critique of nationalism and valorization of exile, in particular), I argue that Lowry should be re-considered as a world writer, whose portrayal of exile explores the character of postwar/postcolonial anxiety among British expatriates on the outskirts of a diminishing empire.

Anyone have any tips for conducting the defense? Should I bring a shield or something?

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Anyone have any tips for conducting the defense? Should I bring a shield or something?

Bring coffee or baked goods. Not even kidding. I've brought homemade treats to all thesis committee meetings so far because I'm a stress baker. The director of a friend's project last year told her not to bother coming if she didn't bring coffee and bagels.

As a more serious tip, I would say to relax. You've spent untold hours and 50+ pages writing about your project. You can respond to questions about your thesis in your sleep. :)

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I actually find it refreshing to talk about my work after it's done. I've never done a formal defense, but I find that, when I am speaking, I can include some points that were too tangential to include in writing, but are worthwhile to talk about. It's kinda fun B)

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I actually find it refreshing to talk about my work after it's done. I've never done a formal defense, but I find that, when I am speaking, I can include some points that were too tangential to include in writing, but are worthwhile to talk about. It's kinda fun B)

Yes! This is the best part of conferences, particularly conferences in which you're discussing the works you wrote eight times more pages on than you're capable of presenting.

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