I wanted to write this column as a guidebook in reverse - all the things I wish I had known going into a thesis. I expect I’ll be doing something like this again, and I wanted a way to remind myself of the trials and tribulations of a project of this magnitude. I’m proud of myself for being able to do this honors thesis/project, and I’m grateful for the people who helped me along the way. I feel like it took a village to bring this thesis together – librarians, archivists, professors, friends, and family all... Read More
I’m psyched about participating the Massachusetts Undergraduate Research Conference - it’s really the best opportunity on campus to get out and share your work. And I love making (scripted) public presentations, so this was an event I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Honestly, the best advice I can give re: oral presentations is from McSweeney’s “The Snake-Fighting Portion of Your Thesis Defense.” TL;DR: Everyone fights the snake. Not everyone’s snake is the same. The best way to prepare for the snake... Read More
As I listen to  The West Wing Weekly while working on my thesis, I've been toying with Jed Bartlet’s favorite question: what’s next? Since spring break, I’ve been spending basically every waking moment either working or thinking about this monster of a paper I’ve almost completed. And while I still have a few weeks to go, I'm almost sad to finish it. I mean, I'm excited to move onto other projects, but this one has meant a lot to me. I’m told the official handing-in process (AKA putting your manuscript in a box)... Read More
So now that you've learned about the topic of my research, you're probably wondering: where did I find all this information? (At least, that's the question that keeps appearing in my committee's comments - SOURCE???)   Thanks to my previous experience, I had a good idea of the depositories and archives to visit for the materials I needed. I started my research by looking through the records of the Ladies' Branch of the Port Society on loan to the New Bedford Whaling Museum - lots of meeting minutes, scrapbooks,... Read More
This is the first of three posts for #MyResearchStory, giving a general overview of my thesis topic and the progress I've made over the last six months. I've taken you through the highs and lows of thesis research and writing, but not I wanted to share what it is I've been doing and how all this craziness fits together.    As I've mentioned before, my thesis looks at a women's organization in New Bedford, Massachusetts, at the height of the whaling industry. It's entitled "Charity as Coercion: The Ladies' Branch... Read More
I know it’s a little early for me to be waxing poetic about the CHC experience – graduation is still VERY far away – but it was for an assignment. Each BDIC student has to write a “Senior Summary” as their final graduation requirement. It’s half assessment – what did you actually do for your curriculum, what did you learn, what skills did you acquire, etc. – but it’s also half reflection on your BDIC career. It allows me to review what I’ve accomplished, and think about how to present it to future employers or... Read More
So I was able to send off the first draft of my thesis to my Committee Chair, and we've slowly been working our way through each chapter. It's daunting to sit in a room with a really smart person in your field and have them give you constructive criticism. It's intimidating and scary, and that's amplified when you look at all the changes you have to make.    First drafts are supposed to have mistakes, and I have a lot of them. When you're writing, it's hard to see the thesis as one, complete idea - there are lots... Read More
While I finish the last few pages of my first draft, I wanted to share something else about my academic experience: I am all about that Five College life. I’ve taken one course at Hampshire, Amherst, Mount Holyoke, and two at Smith. I didn’t set out for this accomplishment – it worked in my favor that there were classes that I was actually interested in and was able to fit in my schedule. I also lucked out in that BDIC encourages students to take courses at the other schools as part of your curriculum, but I know... Read More
I’m 75% finished with my rough draft – at least, I think I am? It’s hard to tell when you’re in the thick of it. It feels like I’m so close to reaching this goal and I want to power through. And yes, that’s a really good feeling to have at this stage – but it’s also stressful to be spending 4+ hours a day writing in addition to my class and work schedule.   Case in point: I was sitting in the library the other day during my scheduled thesis time, and something was off. I felt exhausted, I couldn’t focus, and I was... Read More
I feel like this thesis makes me write like I’m running out of time! But I’ve noticed one thing – I cannot write my thesis at the desk in my room. It’s impossible! I get distracted by the TV in my common room, the food in my kitchen, or the messiness of my side of the bedroom – everything in the world except my actual thesis. So, earlier this week, I set off in search of the perfect study spot on campus.   Some places I tried first (or that were recommended to me): Roots and the DCs had too much noise...... Read More


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