7 Things You Learn After Writing a Thesis

For those who have finished, CONGRATS! For those still working, almost there!! And to all those looking at exhausted seniors, this is for you. Get some wisdom in advance, you’ll be in the Lib Cafe chugging caffeine with a stack of books soon.

Always a classic, always inspiring!

 1. Taking Breaks & A Bit of Booze will bring You Great Success

For real y’all. It’s scientifically proven by the great (and brilliant) Jonah Lehrer. “Scientists have determined that people in a relaxed state and a good mood are far more likely to develop innovative or creative thoughts,” according to NPR coverage of Lehrer. Let me clarify. First, on the adult beverages I truly mean just a bit, not Middkid Video style here. But by all means, grab a Woodchuck as you read/write/edit away! There’s a reason why Happy Hours are named as such. Second, on the breaks, really take the time to peace out every once in awhile: attend a lecture or panel totally unrelated to your topic, go for a run, spend a two hour proctor dinner with your friends, etc. You’ll come back refreshed, and if you’re lucky maybe even reach an epiphany along the way!

2. Laundry Can Wait, Showers Cannot

We’ve all done it. Wondered if ‘those jeans’ are good to wear another day, smelling ‘that shirt’ to see if it’s moderately acceptable. Just buy yourself an extra week’s worth of underwear and men’s white T’s now. You’ll thank me later when you’re two weeks pre-deadline with lots o’laundry. And by all means, don’t skip showers, you’ll think it saves time, but it is always well worth spending.

3. Small Tokens are where it’s at!

When it’s 3 a.m. and you’re checking your footnotes for the trillionth time, you’ll want something to bring you back to the real world and the larger picture. Whether it’s a photo, a special piece of jewelry, a favorite pen, lucky socks — (heard it all) find something meaningful to keep on you. Or, get something new and decide it’s special and meaningful!

4. Get Cranky at Totally Unnecessary Things & Enjoy It

Dear EIA/Career Services, while I love nothing more than your mission, all your partner offices, and your amazing staff, please don’t send us emails trying to convince us that we should spend our crazed thesis-deadline time trying to make a video for your compilation of job search advice to next year’s seniors… where what we ‘win’ is just being in the video and some grille money? How about finishing my thesis, perhaps? Timing is key, and the weeks you sent those (three, really?!) emails (with a deadline of the 30th?!) are pretty much crunch time & deadline zone for everyone. Send this during senior week, or just send someone with a camera to senior week events — you’d get tons more footage and way less annoyed grumbles that way! Also, that freshman in your intro level class complaining about a three page paper? This is what I have to say about that.

5. Your friends are the most amazing people on the planet

Seriously, as if you didn’t know this before, your friends are amazing. Whether you’re the only one writing a thesis or all of your friends are too, the de-facto support group, source of smiles, love and inspiration you have is a treasure trove, so be thankful and express your gratitude. From food deliveries when you truly cannot separate from your computer, to encouraging notes, emails, mix cds and inspiring links… nothing strengthens friendships like thesis writing. (Yeah, I’m talking about you. And yes, you’re amazing).

6. Midd is Awesome, You and Your Thesis are also Awesome & You are Incredibly Lucky

OK, so technically 3(4?) things in one. But a 7 things list is so much hipper than a 10 things list, so deal with it. Seriously, when(/where/why/who/how/what) ever other point in your life are you going to be able to devote 1, 2, or 3 semesters (counting J-term here) to learning about something so obscure, you probably are now one of 10-20 experts in said subject. It’s truly about the journey, not the destination; revel in the discovery! And major shout out to the Undergraduate Research Office(URO) and their Senior Research Project Grants. If you didn’t know this exists, consider this your something new (and vital) you learned today (and on my top 5 list of things to love about Middlebury). Supporting senior research, you can apply for up to $1,500 in research funding from the URO! So you can totally go to those obscure museums, exhibits, even apply to attend or present at conferences and have Midd support it! Despite the crazed time that finishing up can be, take a minute to remember how blessed you are to be here.

 7. No Project Will Ever Be Harder or Feel As Good When It’s Finally Complete. That Is, Until Real Life.

Cannot totally certify that this is true. But from what I’ve heard, it’s pretty spot-on (alumni, what would you say?). Loop back to #6 if you don’t believe me, and I’ll let you know in a year or two.