Winter is here.
For many MAPHers this is the most stressful time of the year. It can be hard to adjust to 3
non-core classes (3 midterms….3 finals….). It gets cold here. So, so cold. And your thesis changes from an abstract, amorphous, awesome-thing-I-will-do-in-the-future into a particular, bounded, mildly-good-and-full-of-potential thing-I-am-doing-right-now.
So we of MAPH office fame thought we should throw some advice your way. Which is to say, Mylo and Grover wanted to share the ideas they have been throwing around for their own theses (see below).
But first, the weather.
For those of you who grew up in Antarctica, you can ignore this part, I’m sure you know how to dress for cold weather. For those of you from anywhere else, this weather may be somewhat of a shock. Air temperature can and (probably) will dip below zero, and the wind chill gets down to -20 or worse.
How to deal with this? Layers.
Layers Layers Layers. Easy to do on top–shirt, sweatshirt, a nice jacket. Just that is 3 layers, and you can always add an extra shirt or sweater. Bottom half is harder, because we usually don’t think past: pants.
I ran into some challenging gender-norm language problems trying to identify the clothing we wear under our pants. I decided that for all humans, we can basically call them leggings. I grew up calling them long-johns, but they’re just leggings. AKA long underwear. AKA tights.
So on real cold days, I get up to 3 layers on my legs. Leggings, PJ PANTS YES PJ PANTS, and then normo pants. Some good warm socks, and a good pair of boots. Scarf and hat are necessary, but leave cheeks and forehead exposed (it may be because my hairline is retreating, but my forehead gets cold af). A balaclava or changing your hat/scarf positioning will help. Gloves that are long enough to tuck into your jacket sleeve.
OK that’s all I got for weather.
By the last Friday in January (27th) your signed advisor paperwork is due. That gives you TWO WEEKS to get someone to give you the green light. Feel free to come talk to the mentors or anyone in the MAPH office, we can help facilitate conversations, read email drafts, figure out backup advisors, etc.
Ask. You may have been meeting with your advisor hoping that they will come out and offer and save you the terrifying social ledge-approach of asking if they will advise you. Stop tergiversating. You’re an adult now. This isn’t prom. Faculty members know students need advisors, and they also know that they don’t have to commit to much. You will find that rejection is easier in practice than it is in your head, and it will feel so much better to have this issue settled than up in the air.
And if it doesn’t feel right? Trust your gut! Don’t be petrified of your advisor because your work won’t feel as good to you.
THE THESIS, SIS
Is writing your thesis going to be stressful? Sure. But it is eminently doable. 94 of you will produce one this year. 87 produced one last year. And so on. It is a challenging thing that you can do. It’s not Everest, there are not bodies of past MAPHers who you use for guidance.
Instead there are preceptors who will help you do this piece by piece. And (like all academic work) your writing is not you. The thesis is not you and does not represent you. You took MAPH core, you know “you” probably doesn’t even exist in the way you grew up thinking it exists. Trust me when I say that this project is not you. Just something you will be proud of.
A final piece of advice on writing the thesis comes from the office dogs, Grover and Mylo.
Be a Grover.
When Grover gets stepped on, his reaction is to leap up, growl and begin attacking whoever stepped on him.
Don’t be a Mylo.
When Mylo gets stepped on, his reaction is to scream and pee. He then apologizes to whoever stepped on him.
When it comes to your thesis, be a Grover.
And in conclusion, Mylo and Grover wanted to share their ideas for their own thesis projects.
Class Struggles and Begging: A Marxist Perspective on Sitting Pretty
Creature Comforts: Sleeping, Eating and Existentialism
Butt Sniffing: A Memoir
One Trick Doggos: Performance and Degradation
Waiting at the Door Tomorrow: Wittgenstein’s Canine Investigation
Humping: Canine Heteronormativity Under Modernity
The Stick and The Carrot: An Analysis of “Good Boy”
The Unchanging View: Sled Dogs Under Capital
The Rise of Speciesism in Post-Leash America
Smells of Home: A Poem Cycle
Treats: A Conversation between Subjugation and Pleasure