Dear Loved Ones of This Thesis Writer

This spring, five out of our eight undergraduate interns will be writing their senior thesises (thesi?). It’s bound to create a different type of March Madness and Suzbob would like to take a quick moment of appreciation before we all bunker down.

Dear Loved Ones of This Thesis Writer,

First of all, you should know that I love you immensely. I cannot say this enough and am probably not coming close to truly expressing how much I mean it, but it’s true. I love you. Like a lot.

These next few weeks might be a little rough, full of footnotes, scattered brains, and ink smudged sleeves. They’ll come a point when I might stop keeping time via weeks but via word counts, and post-deadline life will turn into this weird hazy apparition that you tell me exists, but I’ll be pretty sure it’s just as real as Princess Leia taking a ride on an unicorn.

At that point, I might be a little shell-shocked, and honestly, my greatest worry is that I might not be the best friend I ought to be. Therefore, I am writing this letter to future us and I hope it’s not too presumptuous to ask you of these things. I pinky promise to keep up my end of the deal because our friendship > thesis.# Keep reading after the jump for more!

  1. Ask not, “how’s your thesis” but “what do you currently love about your thesis?” Okay, I know this seems semantic and silly, but I promise it’s going to make a huge difference. Instead of sending me into a tailspin all that I have yet to do, you’ll help remind me why I am passionate about this project and why I love it. Also: you’ll get to have a conversation with a positive person rather than a pessimistic one! (Five points to Gryffindor!)
  2. Remind me to step up, step back. At the Dub Cee, we often try to institute “step up, step back” when we host discussions. This ground-rule encourages people who haven’t spoken for a while to share and those who have shared a bunch, to step back and listen. There are very few moments that make me as ecstatically fulfilled happy than a great conversation with an excellent friend and those conversations are always two ways. Keep me in the loop on your life!
  3. Call me out. Here’s the thing, I’m pretty sure I’m going to flake out on you at least once. It’s not going to be intentional and I’ll feel awful about it and you deserve to let me know that it wasn’t cool. Throw down some compassionate criticism; remind me that this project isn’t an excuse to neglect our friendship in crappy ways.
  4. Realize that you are critical to this project. Remember that time when I stumbled across this crazy topic and you let me ramble in the d-hall about how interesting it was while you were actually wondering what you wanted for dessert? Believe it or not, that was the birth of my thesis and you were its politely engaged midwife. You have already done so much to help me be successful without even realizing about it—gchatting me while I was away doing field research when I was feeling every mile that separated me from home, sending me that puppy video when I wasn’t sure if I should push through or call it quits for the night, passing along a link that’s related to my topic. You are a rockstar and my hero. My true measure for success is not what grade three people are going to give me, but that at the end of the day, you’ll be proud of my work and me.

Thanks for the giggles and the hugs and the “you look like crap, you should sleep” realness. I am so grateful for our friendship and for you. I hope you know that I would be willing to do anything for you. In fact, in order to make up for this craziness, I promise to give your children “The Talk” in 2030 because that’s what old college friends are for.

Love love love,

January 26, 2013//Pforzheimer House//Harvard College


3 thoughts on “Dear Loved Ones of This Thesis Writer

  1. Haha honestly, my Letter to The Loved Ones of *This* Thesis Writer would probably include a clause about how my “me-time”, whenever I choose for it to take place, is sacrosanct and not an indictment of our friendship. Thank you so much for writing this Suzanna!! I’m definitely passing this along.

  2. Thank you for this Suzbob! Definitely something I will pass along. My own letter would include a clause saying that when I show signs of losing my sanity, feel free to pull me away from my laptop for five minutes and yell at me, because I need people to remind me that I am human.

  3. Anonymous

    Just a small addendum: If you see me crying, don’t assume it’s about my thesis. However, just in case it is, don’t ask about it.

    But yes, thanks for your brilliance. Forwarding.

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