A month ago I turned my thesis rough draft in. I busted my ass to get it done in time and the last few days I spent working on it I was convinced completing the rough draft of this novel would never happen.
I was surprised that I did it, having under estimated myself, something I do too often and is a result of my destructively low self-esteem. Seeing the manuscript printed and ready to be mailed to my professor was pretty cool. A stack of papers, half a ream of paper…whoa. The work I had done, had me on track to graduate in Spring.
I neglected to think that my thesis chair would ask me to push back my graduation, so after a failed job interview (yes, I’m still unemployed–this economy is so terrible–Great Recession, try Depression) I received an email from my chair telling me my thesis wasn’t ready for a spring graduation. My chair was kind enough to acknowledge that informing over email was harsh, but I was scheduled for a visit the following week. I’m relieved my professor told me over email because I read the email and in my already emotional state, I was hysterical. I cried and cried and cried.
I was failure. A big fat failure.
Well, after my breakdown I drove to my boyfriend’s (this seems like a luxury since for the past four years I was only able to call him, now if I get upset he gives me a hug instead of kind words over the phone miles away from each other). He helped me realize that now my thesis would be even better than if I were to graduate in Spring. I’d have three more months to make it perfect, to make it something I will be proud of.
Having a thesis I love is something very important to me. My chair knew this from the get go. My chair gives great criticism and holds me to the highest standards. This is initially why I asked this professor to be my chair. During our meeting my chair said, “It’s already good, I just want to see you take it to the next level.” That felt good. I should mention my chair doesn’t give complements out willy nilly.
I now have new deadlines. The program I’m enrolled requires M.F.A.’s to turn in a completed rough draft at the beginning of the semester they are going to graduate. Since I anticipated a spring graduation I turned my thesis in this January. Now that I’m graduating in summer my “rough draft” is due at the end of May or beginning of June. The final version is due in July and the defense is at the end of July and graduation is in August.
While this seems like a ton of time, it isn’t. Before I know it will be May and I’ll be turning it another “rough draft” which I’m hoping needs minimal revisions.
My chair was very encouraging during our meeting, pointing out my growth as a writer and easing my worries about certain aspects of my novel. Since the general concept of my novel has the potential to be cliché, I was worried this might happen, I was assured it had not.
I left my meeting almost relieved that I would have more time to write a thesis that I can be proud of and can hopefully get published.
I have a friend from grad school who had the same thing happen to her. She turned in her rough draft and her chair advised her to push back her graduation to summer. She wrote a collection of poems for her thesis. When I was venting to her about my disappointment she told me how the same thing had happened to her. She then told me that every poem in her thesis has been published and one of her poems won a prestigious award. Hearing this made me feel better.
While my goal is to produce the best thesis possible, it would be pretty cool to have written a book that can be picked up at Barnes and Noble.