Monday, February 21, 2011

Likes and Gripes

This was just going to be a post of gripes, but I decided that kind of negativity wasn't going to get me anywhere. So we have this.


1) The idea of my senior thesis. Right now, I'm knee-deep in figuring out the logistics and research proposal. I'm also looking for my thesis adviser, which is a lot like looking for a literary agent if you think about it. I'm searching for someone who cares about me, is excited about my project, and is willing to give me good feedback. I want to find a professor who meshes with my personality and responds promptly. I mean, some people might be okay with having a professor who doesn't e-mail back for over a week, but I'm a needy person who wants a hands on adviser to tell me when I'm slacking, make me work hard, and be there when I need help. 

So really, looking for an adviser is a lot like dating. I'm doing a blitz this week around the history department and seeing who's right for me. Although finding an adviser is a big, year-long commitment, I'm feeling optimistic because the history professors at my university are total sweethearts, every one of them. They make me feel so loved. Plus, this is the first time I actually get to write about whatever I want and not being forced to write about Africa (specifically the rise and fall of Pan-Africanism in the Gold Coast from 1940 — 1960; tell me that doesn't make your hair stand on end in excitement). I know people who love African history. I'm not that person.*

2) Coffee. The fuel that writers and students run on, and the only thing that is keeping me alive right now.

3) Winning at ICPA. That's right. We took home 29 awards, the most of any college newspaper there, and we were named 1st place in General Excellence the 2nd year in a row. I'm a part of a pretty sweet staff. Not to mention, awesome weekend. I love Chicago.

4) Pampering myself. I know the employees at Walgreens judge me when I go to the store to buy ice cream and fashion magazines, but you know what? Sometimes you need to reward yourself with Ben & Jerry's and trashy sex articles, okay. Especially after you do Serious Reading about UN Secretary Generals and spend your Sunday night/early Monday morning trying desperately to understand why the Annales school of history even exists.


1) Actually doing my senior thesis. You know, it sounds all sophisticated and great to be sitting in the library and reading giant volumes on Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt, waxing eloquent about the dying moments of idealism and romanticism, while hoping that cute history major** with the glasses will come over to talk to you, maybe ask you out for a cup of coffee, and then you can be gloriously geeky together forever while traveling the Mediterranean and gathering artifacts for The Greatest Historical Breakthrough Ever. But really, this is all a very far off pipe dream. Having to write a research proposal is not fun. It is even less fun hoping your proposal isn't so unrealistic or dumb that you get laughed out of the department. It becomes downright depressing thinking about all of the time you have to spend in the Main Stacks, getting lost among the floors of socialist history that are all in Russian and getting smashed by the moving bookcases. When you think about the grants to apply for due in less than a month, the recommendations you need to get the grants, and the 60+ pages of history you need to turn out to be judged by professors -- well, that just makes you want to jump ship now to another major. 

Except, the only thing that is less attractive than doing all this, is being a fifth year senior.

2) The money I spend on coffee. Why is it so expensive to stay awake?

3) Not writing. This makes me sad. One day when the weather gets warm, I'm going to give the world the middle finger for four hours and go to the public library where the walls are glass, the smoothies are delicious, and nobody talks to me for an entire afternoon. And I can just write. 

4) The LSAT. This is going to be a gripe until June 6, 2011 at approximately 4 p.m. 

5) Responsibility. I guess you can never really escape this. But it seems, at this point in my life, like everything I do has giant repercussions on my future. For once, I'd like to be truly, actually irresponsible, and not have it screw anything up. I'm not talking little things, like going out on weekends and waking up not remembering the night before. In the grand scheme of things, the most you lose in that scenario is some brain cells and a piece of your dignity (unless you did something in that memoryless span of time that will actually mess things up big time, like rob a bank or get pregnant). I am, on the whole, an extremely conscientious person who has ambitious goals, likes school and work, and looks toward the future. I have never felt like this was a bad thing. Most people would like to have already planned out their life to the extent I have. I don't know if it's a mid-college crisis or what, but I feel like it would be great if I could take advantage of the fact that I have no one dependent on me and do hugely stupid things just to do them. Instead of always doing things that will make the future better or easier. 

And yes. This is a spoiled rich kid problem if I ever saw one.

*I learned a lot, despite working on something I didn't want to do. My senior thesis would be THAT MUCH harder if I didn't have to do this preliminary class on Africa, which required a 25-page research paper. And as always, my professor was super cool, and I adored him. So there are benefits to being forced upon academic projects.
**LOLOLOL those don't exist. Either major hipsters/socially incompetent/faux intellectuals or total bros who needed a course of study to set them on their life goals of being douchey lawyers. I can say this on good authority because I am a history major.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on the win and good luck with your thesis. Makes me glad I didn't have to do one to graduate. Eep!