Tuesday, April 01, 2008

thesis schmesis

I'd take another chance
Take a fall, take a shot for you
And I need you like a heart needs a beat
(But that's nothing new)

Looking at a year-and-a-half's worth of work in the form of a neatly-bound 132-page thesis, I can say it's been quite an experience. Especially the last week or so. On Sunday (the day before the thesis was due) I spent sixteen straight hours slogging away in the Angell Hall Computing Site, lovingly christened the Fishbowl (that's one of the biggest computing sites on campus, for the uninitiated). It was only then when I fully realized why it was nicknamed the Fishbowl - particularly true in the wee hours of the morning, because everyone pretty much has eyes that are glazed over from the lack of sleep, compounded by staring at a computer screen for hours on end. I emerged from the Fishbowl at 4:00 am finally with my four printed copies, went home, got into my car and drove to the FedEx Kinko's down on State to get the theses bound (24-hour Kinko's are the best thing ever).

I both love and loathe Microsoft Office Word 2007. It was pretty cool when I discovered that there was such a tool as an automatic content page generator, but not half as cool when the formatting kept screwing up when I tried to add my final heading for the reference list to the content sheet. I could correct it on Word itself, but whenever I tried to print or convert it to a PDF file, it'd automatically recorrect (or rewrong, given the circumstances) itself. It drove me nuts, and I finally gave up on amending it on the computer, resorting instead to a most primitive method to make the amendment. I won't elaborate on what I did, save to say that it was a most ingenious solution that involved a wad of chewed gum, a sheet on which the amendment I had wanted to include was printed, and a photocopier. Well, you couldn't tell the difference, in any case! :)

Anyway, so Sunday was only the second all-nighter I've pulled in my undergraduate college experience to date. The first was for a polsci paper almost exactly a year ago. I don't recommend it, but I think it's a staple part of many students' lives. I value my sleep too much to make this a habit!

Well, it's not over yet - my thesis defense is scheduled for next Tuesday. Exactly a week from today I'll have to stand in front of a panel and attempt to be an expert on politics in Singapore. Hopefully that goes well!


wil said...

hahahaa....i know overnight papers. Once i worked till 6am on this damn paper due at 12 n i slept till 10am then went for a separate presentation surviving on a 3 teabag strong cup. haha. college staples.

Spider63 said...

Those all-nighters are when you realize what's what and what you can do with gum and other things you never would think of when you had gotten normal amount of sleep!

Jamie McMillan said...

I agree that the last week of thesis writing can really be the most exciting part of it. This is where you would really be crunching your time and thinking of any thesis help you can get just to finish the thesis paper. But, hearing how steady you were writing your paper, I know that you didn’t got much trouble with your paper.