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Thesis Writers Prepare for Looming Deadlines

Marina Chen ’15, shown speaking in the Science Center, is due to finish her thesis by next Thursday. Her writing explores the effectiveness of policies that limit individual choice with the intent of helping people make better decisions.
Marina Chen ’15, shown speaking in the Science Center, is due to finish her thesis by next Thursday. Her writing explores the effectiveness of policies that limit individual choice with the intent of helping people make better decisions. By Y. Kit Wu
By Jiang Li, Contributing Writer

After months of preparation, thesis writers are pulling their final all-nighters in advance of their last deadlines.

“It’s in a way like a relationship, with its ups and downs,” said Katherine M. Kulik ’15, an inactive Crimson multimedia editor. Bonnie R. Lei ’15 called that relationship “the most intense...ever.”

For many seniors, the looming deadline demands balacing desires for perfection and completion. As the deadline approaches, seniors await edits from their thesis advisers, planning to revise for one last time.

Katharine D. D’Orazio ’15 said she plans to do seven more drafts before her due date next Thursday.

Katharine D. D’Orazio’15, a psychology concentrator with an economic secondary, is due to submit her thesis next Thursday. Her research centers on how visual and verbal cognitive processing affects the decision-making process.
Katharine D. D’Orazio’15, a psychology concentrator with an economic secondary, is due to submit her thesis next Thursday. Her research centers on how visual and verbal cognitive processing affects the decision-making process. By Y. Kit Wu

Thesis writers have each identified their most productive writing and revising locations. Veronica Gloria ’15 called herself a “hermit,” remaining in her dorm room with “Do Not Disturb” signs on her door. Daniel R. Ki ’15 said he can work anywhere, including Flyby and the dining halls. Kulik said she finds herself most efficient when sitting on the bench outside of her thesis adviser’s office.

Some thesis writers have reverted to freshman habits. Marina P. Chen ’15 said she spends extended hours in Lamont, while Maddy Berg ’15 said she enjoys the unlimited coffee and food in Annenberg.

Berg, echoed by many other thesis writers, said she had seriously worried about her ability to finish. Writers said that, early on in the process, they feared unexpected events—such as flight cancellations, an emergency surgery, or unreliable study subjects—spelling the end of their theses.

“The whole thing is like a whirlwind,” Berg said. “You are like I’m not going to finish, and then you have a really productive day and you...feel great!”

As lonely as this laptop labor may seem, thesis writing is, according to many seniors, a collective effort. Gloria continues to receive snapchats and sweet messages from the children she interviewed for her thesis on Latino students in suburbs, while Ki described a game he and his blocking group—which includes four thesis writers—play to keep their minds off their theses.

“Every time someone says the word ‘thesis,’ they have to add 50 cents in a swear jar,” said Ki, who now refers to his thesis as “the big document.”

Looking back on the process, Berg feels grateful that she chose to write a thesis.

“It ties up loose ends. As much as there’s drama and tears involved, there’s also so much satisfaction,” she said.

After their deadlines next week, writers will embark on “proper celebration,” Lei said.

Many seniors have planned trips abroad. But Berg said she plans to catch up on sleep and "House of Cards."

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