May 17, 2010 - 7:33 PM
I printed it tonight: 73 pages. My thesis, officially titled: "Better Talk: Analysis and approaches to improving dialogue in dialogue-centered classes at the University of Oregon" has been turned in. After months of research, writing, and crafting, the process is near closure. I made my way around campus attempting to slip my thesis under my advisors' office doors, but I quickly realized that 73 pages is much too thick to squeeze under a door. That fact made me both amused and satisfied.
Surprisingly, turning in my thesis did not give me as much joy and liberation as I anticipated. It is very nice to not have to worry about the stress with writing and meeting self-established deadlines to get the thing done, but I still feel like it is uncompleted until my committee reads it and I successfully defend it. Luckily, in nine short days I will hopefully be just about finished with the process (pending revisions and reformatting so it can be bound). Until then, I will reread my manuscript, figure out weaknesses in my argument, and create talking points to present and summarize my argument. On top of that, I may even bake some cookies for my committee and audience.
On the up side, I don't feel that nervous about my defense. I feel like I am an expert in the subject after the amount of reading and research I have conducted, and I believe that I have assembled a compelling argument and piece of work. I know that my professors are going to do a fantastic job of grilling me, but I look forward to the challenge of dueling with some of the most brilliant minds on campus (my committee consists of the University Senate President, the Director of the Center for Teaching writing, and the Associate Dean of the Honors College) and thinking on my feet. It will surely be difficult, but I relish the opportunity.
Though I am still antsy about completing the project, I am proud of my work thus far. I have never put this much time and effort into an intellectual endeavor, and my progress reflects some of the strongest thinking and writing that I've done-- as it should. In retrospect, I am very glad that a thesis is an Honors College requirement because it is an exercise that requires intensive self-disciplined time, research, and thinking-- skills that will serve me well in whatever field I end up in. Do I want to do it again anytime soon? No way, but watching page after page stream out of the recalcitrant Honors College printer made me feel relieved that I'm another milestone closer to completion. I cannot wait for my defense on May 26th; I'll keep you posted as to how it goes.