I recently finished my thesis.
If my wife were reading this, she’d probably break into gales of laughter. “I’ve finished my thesis” is a statement I made a good dozen times over the last month of the slog towards final submission. “It’s done.”
Well, it was done. Then it was done again. But this time it’s really done. I mean, sure, I’ve got a few more sources coming in through interlibrary loan, but I mean other than that it’s pretty much done. I’ll probably take another editing pass or two at it, but that won’t change much I’m sure.
There’s the “I’ve finished primary writing” done. Then there’s the “I finished the editing” done. Then there’s the “I sent the draft of the final off to my advisor done”, quickly followed by “yes I made all the bloody edits” done. But then you’re done.
Of course, after that it’s time to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous defense panels, and the post-defense edits that almost inevitably follow. And the wrangling over the little things you largely ignored that you didn’t consider important until then, like your dedications (“what do you mean I can’t dedicate my thesis to Slayer?”).
It’s not until you finally hit “Enter” on that electronic repository submission that you’re well and truly done. But a thesis is just such a beast that you’re interested in declaring it dead as soon as possible. And, just like victims in a horror movie, grad students tend to say “this time it’s dead for sure” far too early, usually getting dismembered by their advisors’ chainsaw for their troubles. And then the thesis returns for Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Thesis Part 2: The Reckoning.
Keith Hann, MSS