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Spring Must Have Arrived: First Seniors Submit Theses

By Darshak M. Sanghavi

She trudged up the stairs of Burr Hall, threw open the door of the History and Literature office, dropped two rather thick black binders onto the receiving desk, and smiled.

She was one of 94 History and Literature concentrators whose department had the earliest thesis deadline of the College, five o'clock yesterday.

"I'm so glad I'm done," said Rena S. Miller '89, almost anticlimactically. Her friend, Peter S. Vrooman '89, had more to say: "I hate footnotes. Today's my birthday, and I stayed awake all last night helping her with her footnotes. I hate footnotes."

Vrooman's gripes were shared by many others. "I hate footnotes" was the most commonly overheard comment yesterday at the informal champagne and Pepperidge Farms cookie reception at Burr Hall. Following the 5 p.m. deadline, the lounge of the History and Literature office was packed with relieved seniors.

The area was filled with students hugging tutors, tutors hugging students, and the pop-popping of newly-opened champagne bottles.

"You want an interesting thesis story? Come see me tomorrow in Stillman and you'll probably hear one," one senior said as he raised his champagne cup.

"Hello. Have it. Good riddance," was the simple greeting of Astrid M. Carver '89 as she handed in her essay. The two students who followed her were busy peeling Coop price tags off their thesis binders, and didn't laugh.

Each student had to submit two copies of the 40-60 page project. One senior, holding four binders, said sarcastically, "I didn't have enough to do, so I wrote two theses."

Thesis titles spanned an interesting range, from "The Nature of Ulster Violence" to "Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My" to "Sex and Sales in the American Department Store." Among others on Dickens, Faulkner, and textile industries, there was also a thesis on Batman and "Changes in Comic Book Storytelling."

Staff workers at the History and Literature office said they were surprised by the efficiency of many thesis writers. "People were calling up last week asking if they could turn in their theses early," said one staffer. Department secretary Melanie A. Murphy observed at 4 p.m. that "only 30 theses" had yet to be submitted.

The Literature and English theses are due next, on March 15, followed closely by History and Science, due on March 17. Other department deadlines will then approach in rapid succession. For some seniors, there is little time to spare.

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