See this stack of books? This is the pile that has been slowly accumulating on my desk over the course of the semester . Purchased on surprise trips to Amherst Books, the Odyssey Bookshop, or even the Campus Center Bookstore, these books have been taunting me throughout the semester as I’ve typed away on papers or trudged through dull readings. But I haven’t allowed myself to read them – not yet, anyway.   Winter break is supposed to be a time of relaxation – I’ll get to see my family, do a bit of traveling, and... Read More
Last week, I talked about the proposal serving two purposes: the second of those two purposes being a syllabus for you, your committee, and the Honors College. I call it the syllabus section because it’s a lot easier to understand why CHC is asking some of these questions, and also how to structure the proposal, when you think about it in that context. There are basically four parts: Method, Evaluation, Communication, and Timeline.   Method: For historians, the methodology is pretty simple: what’s... Read More
20 trips to the library, 14 books, 6 articles, 5 (surviving) recyclable bags from the circulation desk, and countless hours later, I can officially say that I have written my spring proposal.     Essentially, to enroll in the spring semester of my honors thesis, I have to fill out a proposal. I did something similar to register for the fall semester, but this proposal is a much more involved and in-depth process. The proposal serves two purposes: It’s proof that this first semester of research hasn’t gone to... Read More
I’ve heard it said that the difference between success and failure is a great team. In that case, I have an amazing team - er, committee - working with me, ready to advise and guide my progress through the thesis, so I should definitely be successful.    When I first started the proposal process back in March, I went to Professor Miller with the vague outline of an idea. I trusted her judgment and her expertise, knowing that she had a better idea of who in the department would best fit this topic... Read More
I feel like this last week has been especially busy, what with midterms and papers and Halloween. And now it's November - class registration is starting, final assignments are being discussed, and Thanksgiving break is just off in the distance. How did this semester fly by so quickly?   And of course, on top of classwork and social engagements, I still have a lot of work to do for my thesis. Juggling research on top of a busy semester is definitely doable, but it's not really something you can put down or work on... Read More
This is a picture of my binder. More specifically, this is THE BINDER, the one that holds every piece of information for HIST 499Y. It corresponds with a folder on my computer, but as they say in library sciences, lots of copies keep stuff safe! I've sectioned it off in the following ways: Forms: This has copies for the registration forms for CHC and the corresponding documents I handed in, just in case something were to go wrong in the registration process. I also keep my... Read More
Last year, I told the beginning of my research story, but this story did not end with completing my Honors Thesis last spring. In fact, writing my thesis as a junior presented me with a unique opportunity to continue to conduct research as an undergraduate. And so, I chose (yes this was a voluntary choice no matter how strange that sounds) to write a second thesis this year in the psychology lab, the Work and Family Transitions Project, where I am a Research Assistant.   So far this has been an extremely... Read More
If someone asked me back in my freshman year what I would be doing for my Honors Thesis, I would’ve laughed and said, “I have no idea.” If someone had asked me last year, I would’ve said, “The 9 to 5 Adventurer Project.” It’s true that the Honors Thesis is a four-year journey, but the hardest part of that journey is figuring out where to start.   As it turns out, my Honors Project is not what I would’ve expected. I came by it while frantically searching for a seminar I could take to fill the requirement, since my... Read More
For many students research can mean many different things and can cause many different emotions. So what’s my relationship with research? Let’s just say it’s complicated.   I first grew to love research during my junior year of high school when I was required to submit a project to our school’s History Fair. I formed a group with two other students and we created a documentary entitled, “Innovations in Sanitation: A History of Chicago’s Sewer System.” I know what you are thinking… a documentary about sewers? Yes,... Read More
When I got my letter from UMass in December of my senior year of high school, I remember reading the first sentence that said I was accepted, and then not reading any further. I was just so glad I had gotten in that I had failed to notice, in the next paragraph of that letter, that I had also been accepted into the Commonwealth Honors College (CHC).   It wasn’t even until the next day that my mom pointed it out to me. I was so excited and proud that my application had stood out enough that I had not only been... Read More

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