Under the Button is part of a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

OP-ED: I’m Writing a Creative Thesis and It’s All About Me


Photo by Valerious / CC BY 2.0

Many of us washed up seniors have dutifully chosen to write theses during our last year. Because unlike the rest of you, we care more about our contributions to the academic community in that big old ivory tower than going to Blarney’s Quizzo. I mean it’s the least we can do.

Thesis advisors everywhere will urge you to avoid topics you don’t fervently care about. “If you write about something you are deeply passionate about, this process will be a lot easier,” Professor Likehert tells her students. Then I thought, what more do I care about than myself? What else do I spend my days thinking about other than my god-given right to health, education, and prosperity? 

So, I said fuck it. Out with “the magical process of self-realization” and in with “the magical process of self-discovery.” I’ve spent my entire liberal arts career learning about other people’s truths. But what about me? What about my truth? What a wonderful opportunity it is to be able to pursue, in-depth, an area of most interest to me, enabling me to synthesize all that I’ve learned over my entire undergraduate career! It is finally my time to demonstrate to different audiences, including potential employers or graduate school admissions panels, my research on how society functions by, around, and for me.

What’s at stake if I don’t do this? What will be the cost of NOT sharing this with the academic community? And it was then that I knew this was the right thing to do. An explorative approach to my research is absolutely imperative: to learn more about something that not many people know about will form the basis for further, more focused research. It is my duty as I spend my last days here to add to this lacking body of theory and ultimately produce and share these new insights. In other words, it’s my gift back to Penn.