I seem to be the only senior blogger who hasn’t mentioned her thesis. I guess there’s a part of me that keeps thinking it will disappear.
That’s actually not really fair. I’m, so far, enjoying the process of writing a thesis. I’m a history major at Haverford, and my thesis is a year-long process.
I’m focused on The Chronicle of Current Events, an underground newspaper published by dissidents in the Soviet Union during the sixties and seventies. I’m using the newspaper as a way to examine how underground movements communicate (especially when there’s no internet) and what the dissidents’ values were.
This semester, we’re focused on researching. And next semester begins the writing. It’s the researching part that makes me the most nervous. I LOVE to write. And the idea of writing 60-80 pages doesn’t actually scare me. It sounds fun actually. I know, I’m a nerd.
But the research is a whole other story. I keep describing it as a three-headed beast. For everyone one book I finish, I find three more that I need to read. Its interesting reading and I’m enjoying it, but it’s a lot.
My least favorite part of the research process: organizing my notes. However, I’ve had a major breakthrough. I decided to backup my notes on a blog. I live in fear of my computer crashing, leaving me alone and thesisless. So I figured a blog would guarantee that no matter what happened and what computer I was one, I would still have access to my thesis.
But then a funny thing happened: the blog turned into my organizational method. I have a page devoted to a working bibliography. All my notes are tagged so with a single click, I can draw up all my notes on Khrushchev’s Secret Speech. It’s forced me to think about themes and how all the things I’m reading relate to one another.
In other words, it’s turned the note-taking process into a more analytical and rewarding art of the thesis. Again, I know I'm a nerd.
One of my friends, Aya, spent the summer working on an academic blogging project, as a Hanna Holborn Gray Fellow. She was researching Virginia Woolf and Edith Wharton and “and their textual and physical relationships to the space around them.” I went to her final presentation of research a few weeks ago, and rather than focusing on what she discovered about Woolf and Wharton, she discussed blogging as an academic form.
I find myself going back to a lot of her findings when I think about my own thesis blog. For both of us, the ability to link our ideas, and others’, together in posts has been incredibly important. Everything is archived.
And my favorite part, it’s intended to be a living form. Blogs are constantly being updated and changed. It’s ok for me not to get something right on the first try. I can always post again.