Of all the years I remember in my whole life, all 22 years of it, the start of September meant dusting off the backpack and buying new folders. Picking out a new pair of clothes and figuring out how I wanted to style my hair that year (it was a huge frizzy mess until 9th grade, when I discovered the wonders of mousse and layering). Ripping open the most important envelop I ever received in the mail: the one with my schedule.
This first of September, I sit at my kitchen table, the same one I spent countless hours at doing homework, and I prowl job-search sites instead. Surrounded by a half used notebook and a cup of black coffee, I realize the days of showing up to my classroom with shiny new notebooks and pens to match are behind me. Like donning graduation goggles, I find myself itching to start a project, wistfully recalling my favorite lecturers over the years and wanting to take notes on something.
And that’s when I realize that I do have a project on my plate, one I’ve been avidly ignoring for a few weeks. My thesis. The six letter word that I like to say has been the bane of my existence for 2k15. But, surprisingly, I know now that schoolwork isn’t what I’m avoiding.
I think I’m avoiding the true and told end of an era. The final closing of a door on a chapter I so loved. And us such, by thinking of this project as the final thing I would ever accomplish for school, I’m putting all of this pressure on how awesome it needs to come out. And now that I reread my realization, I am seeing how thoroughly ridiculous that sounds! Dean Ullman was right: these are unrealistic expectations–it’s just an undergraduate thesis! It doesn’t need to be stellar, it needs to be written, turned in, and grade. It’s a paper at the end of the day, not such a force to be reckoned with.
And just like that, by taking it for what it is, a paper, the mental walls begin to come down. A thesis is manageable. It’s worth the same credits as any of the other classes I’ve ever taken. And if I’ve managed those classes, I can obviously pass this one. So why is it that we, undergraduates, leave human-shaped holes in our walls when we have to write a thesis?
While I thought this would be my first September without schoolwork, life had other plans for me. It turns out I have one more September’s worth of a project left–for now, that is.