Sunday, November 30, 2008


In my last post I promised that I would elaborate on my thesis. All English majors are required to write a 25 page capstone paper - a paper representing your best work. Junior year all English majors go to the English hallway at 7am on one particular day to sign up for a "Senior Seminar." There are four choices, two first semester, and two second semester. Each are once a week for three hours and are focused on a particular topic. I chose "Endings," which seemed fitting because my First Year Seminar was called "Beginnings," plus it is taught by a professor who I know fairly well and enjoy very much.

Endings meets every Thursday from 2:30 to 5:30. For the first seven weeks of the semester, myself and the 13 other students reader a book each week. Books ranging from A Midsummer Night's Dream to The Awakening, from Beloved to Fight Club. Each week we wrote a short (3 page) response paper and discussed the text for the week. After we finished our final book, we got started on "the longer paper" as my professor (Prof. Marquess) chooses to call the dreaded "thesis." We took everything incrementally, beginning with a three page proposition, followed the next week by 6-7 pages, then 10-15, then 15-25, and then the final draft due on the final day of class. Each week we are assigned to read four or five of our classmates work and then write a short response to their paper. In class we discuss each person's draft and give each other lots of moral support. We also have to present our thesis via a 5 to 10 minute presentation to whomever chooses to come - usually it's English professors and other English majors. This will be next Monday and Tuesday; I'll let you know how it goes.

This process was daunting at the beginning, but it has turned out to be really fun and beneficial. I've gotten a lot of really constructive feedback on my own thesis (which is currently 27 pages - woohoo!), gotten to know my classmates and their work really well and just spend time each week synthesizing everything that I've learned in my English courses thus far. Writing a 25 page paper terrified me - as soon as I declared my English major freshman year it started to weigh on my mind. However, now that I have gone through the whole process, I am really proud of myself and all of my classmates. College has taught me not to be afraid of a challenge because I know that I can work really hard and accomplish what I put my mind to - even if it is a 25 page paper comparing The Little Mermaid and Fight Club (yes, that's really my topic!). I'll let you know how it all turns out...

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