Birth of a Thesis: Over and Done With

If you detect some annoyance in my final piece about me and my BA thesis, I can tell you that before sitting down to write this, I chased my suitcase from Helsinki-Vantaa to Espoo as someone mistook mine for theirs. Moving on! It’s been a while now since I handed in my essay and the second I let go of it and watched it disappear into my teacher’s mail slot, I felt some relief and a little emptiness but mostly…  disappointment. As content as I was (in a very I-just-don’t-care-anymore kind of way) to hand in my essay, I felt that the course which was supposed to be fun, challenging, frustrating but above all, valuable practice, ended up being a lot more trouble than it was worth.  As someone who takes their course work – especially literature courses – to heart, I was left with the disbelief of how against my wishes the project had gone.

Before presenting my topic and having my first draft read, I was having quite a bit of trouble figuring out how to approach my essay and what exactly I would claim in my BA.  I sorted it all out or so I thought.  I went to my first proper feedback session with a butterfly or two in my stomach, knowing that there were sections that needed work, but I still expected to feel encouraged by the feedback.

Instead, the red pen had torn my draft to bits.  To put in bluntly, the harsh critique with no mention of what was good about my draft crushed any enthusiasm I had for my project.  I felt as if I should simply but the draft through a shredder.  After that, I didn’t touch my essay for weeks and even debated pulling the plug on the whole course. Overreaction? Maybe, but despite taking others’ advice on just waiting for the disappointed feeling to pass, I was unable to stretch my BA to 20 pages and had to settle for a forced 18.  As I waited for my printer to finish spewing out the finished product, my mind had already turned to other things and delivering two copies of my BA to Metsätalo seemed to me like an inconvenience to my day.  All I can do now is wait for my grade and, once I get it, feel again what it’s like to fall short of your own goals.  Despite trying, I have been unable to completely switch off caring about my project.  Even if it was just one measly course among my studies.

Now, I don’t want to discourage anyone who still hasn’t done their proseminar.  I continue to think the project should be a positive experience.   We’re not scholars, we’re students and we shouldn’t feel discouraged and humiliated by a 20-page essay.  That’s not how you learn, that’s how you lose confidence.  Maybe this annoyed tone that seems to have slithered through my article isn’t just from having had to hunt down the person who took my luggage.  Perhaps it is the result of having been left with more frustration than satisfaction after months and months of the same essay.  My biggest fear is that this pessimism will follow me on my future courses and continue to eat up my confidence.  What makes me sad, however, is that for the first time, I am not looking forward to my fall courses.

Memoirs of an Exchange Widow

The Knights Who Say DERP, part the First