Despite Trials, Hist. and Lit. Concentrators Finish Theses

Triumphing over printer problems, chronic paper shortages and network outages, History and Literature concentrators poured into the Barker Center Friday to turn in their senior theses—the concentration’s 5 p.m. deadline the earliest of the term.

None of the difficulties proved insurmountable however, and at the end of the day all of the tired writers had found their way to the concentration office.

Director of Studies Steven H. Biel said that students looked “particularly tired this year,” at a champagne party celebrating their achievement.

“There were people with their eyes half-closed,” Biel said, “who didn’t look like they’d showered in a few days.”

For many, that was probably an accurate assessment, the previous 24 hours having proved a harrowing experience.

At six o’clock on Friday morning, after a sleepless night, Katie A. Urbanic ’03 was sitting in the Quincy computer lab attempting to print out her 120 page final draft. The printer didn’t work.

She moved to the Science Center, where after printing about 300 pages of drafts she exhausted the computer lab’s supply of paper.

Urbanic’s odyssey continued as she ran to Kinko’s in Harvard Square, where she found other frazzled seniors as well as a few sympathetic Kinko’s employees.

Kinko’s unfortunately did not have the size of acid-free paper that she needed.

“I don’t think they understood how desperate I was,” Urbanic said.

But when a Kinko’s employee didn’t return in time from a trip to Kendall Square for more paper, another volunteered to cut a larger stack down to the right size.

Urbanic took the hand-cut paper back to the Science Center to finally print. She was done, with a little time to spare, before the deadline of five o’clock that afternoon.

“There are always some people who come in a little later,” said Chair of the History and Literature program Homi K. Bhabha, who sat in the office waiting for students to bring in their final products.

“We were biting our fingernails,” he said, “hoping they would come.”

As the hour hand swept past five, Michael T. O’Neill ’03 was busy completing a “last minute overhaul.”

“I got really into it,” O’Neill said, “and I started to make some pretty significant changes right at the end.”