First Batch of Seniors Finish Theses
Between 40 and 50 seniors had a very good weekend, but many of their classmates did not.
The deadline for theses in history and literature, the concentration with the earliest due date, was last Friday at 5 pm.
Afterwards, the committee threw a celebratory champagne reception for the seniors in the Barker Center.
Jennifer T. Tattenbaum '98 whose thesis was entitled, "Into the Undiscovered Country: A Narrative Strategy in Jewish Immigrant Women's Autobiography," said she was relieved to be free from the constraints of "thesis-life."
"I was always talking about my thesis," she said, adding that the only things she and her friends could talk about for several months "were our thesis and sex."
Tattenbaum said that although she is not interested in academia as a career, writing a thesis was exciting.
"I really had something to say; I felt like I was an authority," she said. "To start from a barely-formed question and to get 60 pages is an incredible feeling...It's the small moments of discovery that make everything worth it."
Although Jesse A. Sage '98 was glad to be done with his thesis, he complained about the early deadline for history and hiterature.
"The biggest strike against the early deadline was dealing with January papers and exams and then go immediately into intensive writing," said Sage, whose thesis was a comparative study of authors Nathaniel Hawthorne and Bernard Malamud. "While I was writing, it was horrible and emotionally exhausting."
Jennifer S. Joel '98 said meeting the early deadline "handicapped" her because she participated in the recruiting process in late January and early February.
"I probably didn't spend a 24-hour period at Harvard because I was flying out to interviews," Joel said.
Sage also said that maintaining a social life was crucial to counteract the exhausting aspects of thesis-writing.
"I think it is definitely useful to take long breaks and socialize; long dinners are key," he said. "I think the key to writing a good thesis is having a life."
While senior History and Literature concentrators can start to try to catch up on their classes for this semester and hammer out plans for next year, Sage said there was another loose end he wanted to tie up.
"I haven't been able to see Titanic yet, so if anybody wants to go, let me know," he said.