So, I’ve been almost comically absent from this blog. I’d like to blame my thesis for that.
Every History major at Vassar College is expected to write a senior thesis. These projects are written over the course of an academic year (but really in the week before each draft is due). We can chose our topics and are assigned to advisers who have expertise in that field. And then we write. And research. And stress bake. And write. And cry.
This semester, I’m living in a house with 3 other history majors. Housemate A is writing about how modern Russian youth view Stalin. Housemate B is writing about Hungarian emigration after the 1956 uprising. Housemate C is writing about interracial relationships in the occupation of Japan (African-American GIs and Japanese women) after World War Two. And Housemate D (me) is writing about Czechoslovakian dissent from 1968 to 1989. As you can likely tell, all of our theses are about 20th century issues, primarily in the Eastern Bloc. Unfortunately, not many professors focus on that area. The professor who rocks Eastern Europe is on leave. The professor who focuses on Russia is also on leave. So A,B and I are working with advisers who, while brilliant, do not have a lot of background knowledge about Eastern European Communism.
So, weekends in our little house are filled with scholarly articles and anxiety. One of my housemates lost all of her notes when her zip drive crashed. I’ve avoided that possibility by simply not taking notes.
All of our fault lines are showing. I’ve been drinking only diet coke and have been spending mornings brushing up on useless knowledge (C’mon! Memorizing every best picture winner is totally relevant/important). C and I have been baking. Our kitchen table is covered in cooking experiments, failed or otherwise. Dishes pile up in our sink, until someone washes all of them in a fit of procrastination. We are all endlessly amused by the fact that the plural of thesis (theses) sounds like feces. And we identify ourselves by how many pages we have left (18).
Our rough drafts are due on Thursday at noon. There is a bottle of cheapo champagne chilling in our fridge. Pray for us.