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Seniors Finally Kick Their Nasty Habit

Thesis Madness

By Michael Kendall and Omar E. Rahman

As the Hasty Pudding Club prepared martinis for its trip to the Bahamas, caffeine-soaked seniors turned in theses to several departments yesterday.

All students interviewed yesterday expressed relief about meeting their afternoon deadlines, but reactions to last minute tensions varied.

Jeffrey Lewis '77, an Economics concentrator, said yesterday, "I feel relieved, happy and overcome by an overwhelming desire to get trashed." Lewis said he finished his thesis last night and slept well for the first time in a month.

Peter C. Bullard '77, who finished his own thesis without any problems, said his roommate had "been living on coffee" for the three days preceding the History Department's 5:00 p.m. deadline.

Bullard added that his roommate finished his 120-page rough draft last Monday and had six typists working to finish the final copy on time. He refused to identify his roommate because "the grader will realize its a rush job."

Many students escaped the pressure altogether by simply not writing theses. Yvonne Quinlan, secretary in the Government tutorial office, said only about 40 per cent of the seniors in the department wrote theses.

Cast-Iron Stomachs

Thesis topics in Economics ranged from Lewis's "The Iron and Steel Industry" to Steve Galbraith Mullins's possibly apocryphal "Analysis of how the menu in Amtrak affects the number of passengers."

Mullins said he had spent a lot of time researching the effect of the introduction of the roast beef sandwich in the Amtrak luncheon menu.

"It's a nice feeling to have written a thesis," Harvey C. Mansfield Jr. '53, chairman of the Government Department, said yesterday.

"Especially if you get a summa, as he did," said one Government Department tutor in reaction to Mansfield's comment.

Social Studies theses were also due yesterday. Max Weber was unavailable for comment.

Most students said theses were the culmination of their academic career. Steven MacDiarmid '77 described his 137-page government thesis as "the only thing I have to show for my education."

Theses were not important for admission to graduate schools, students said, because they are due after most graduate school application deadlines.

Bullard summed up the post-thesis plans of most students, when he said his roommate "is going to get shit-faced tonight and he's taking off for Florida tomorrow."

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