Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Guide to Thesis Writing

     Writing a thesis is different from writing a regular research paper.  It is in fact much longer, you need lots of outside resources, and you have to make a profound analysis.  When I needed to start my thesis papers I didn't really have any direction, no topics, no ideas, and no knowledge of how to go about writing a thesis.  So I've decided to make a mini-guide of the method and process I've created to writing them. 

1.  Topic: this depends on the professor.  For French we could write about anything, but for Spanish we had to use the books we read in class in our analysis.  I recommend googling ideas and doing broad research to get a starting point.  Once you have a direction it is easier to go to your professor and pose an idea to him/her, then they can help and guide you.

2.  Research:  start early!  And read sources as you get them!! It's much harder to read your sources when you have a stack of 10 articles and 6 books sitting in front of you.  It's better to spread things out and take things little by little.  Also an important note, the interlibrary loan system is AWESOME! That means that you can request a book from ANYWHERE (literally from anywhere from all over the world) and within a pretty short time you can get anything you need.  Articles are also so easy to get via ILL because the research librarian requests it for you and emails it to you in a couple days.   

Some of the books for my French thesis, I had about 4 or 5 more!

Again, some of the books for my Spanish thesis!

My articles for my French thesis

3.  Writing:  Actually getting down to writing is not as difficult as you might think.  First off you have to realize that what you first start to write is probably not what you'll keep.  The main goal at first is to write what you can!  When you start to write the ideas get flowing and it gets easier to keep going.  And always remember that you will definitely be revising and revising and REVISING! It seems like it never ends!!

4.  Revising:  Simply said, just keep reading, correcting, and rewriting.  It can only get better!  Here are some images of my French thesis and all the corrections and suggestions that I have received: 

It can be scary and daunting at times, but these corrections are only there to help me write a better essay!  So you have to relax and remember that it is not a personal attack on your writing skills or ideas, most times the corrections are exactly what your thesis needs. 

Good luck with exams and essays during Finals Week!


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I've been MIA

     So readers, what have I been up to for this past month that I have not blogged.... 


     I am almost finished with my 2 thesis papers.  One is about the Commune of Paris in 1879, its relation to Louise Michel, an analysis of two of her poems, and how everything relates to Les Justes a contemporary novel.  Wow.  Clear right?  My Spanish thesis is about the relation between Las batallas en el desierto and Salon de belleza and the historical context of Mexico at that time the novels took place and how fear and hatred played a part in the social context and historical context in both real life and the novels.  Did you get all that?
      On another note, now is the time to complete course evaluations!!! What are they?  They are a way to evaluate the effectiveness of a course and to give helpful suggestions to that professor.  I really like them because you can give suggestions that your professor will anonymously receive, so you don't have to worry if you give them a critique.  So...DO THEM! They are there to help the professors, to help them for the next time they have to teach the course and to see if they can change things to make the course more effective! 
     Well, until next week!


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

working on two thesis papers

     This semester I am taking both my Spanish Senior Seminar and my French Senior Seminar.  That means, that for each class I have to write a 20-25 page paper in that language as well as complete the day to day readings and homework.  Honestly it can be a lot and I'm looking forward to the end of the semester.  So far in my Spanish class we've read:

Maldito amor
Batallas en el desierto
Como me hice monja
Salon de belleza

In French class we've read:

Le Derniere jour d'un condamne
Les Justes
La Peste
Reflexions sur la guillotine
Beni ou le paradis prive
Lecons colonials
Ruy Blas
Femmes de lettres, lettres de femmes

and we still have to read Bouger la banlieue...

Let's hope all goes well and I can finish all my readings, keep up with my studies, and complete my two papers.  But as I have to remind myself, I am not the first student to have to write two thesis papers at the same time and I will not be the last, SO I CAN DO IT!

Wish me luck!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fall Break!

This past weekend was our fall break.  It started Friday after our last class and lasted until Tuesday evening.  This year instead of going home I was invited to go home with my roommate Taylor and go to her house in Connecticut.  We left around 6:00 and we drove the 4 hours there (it was awesome...lots of singing).   At her house we unpacked, ate, and went to bed exhausted.  Saturday we went out for breakfast at Chuckwagon where they sang Happy Birthday to me and later we went on a hike that was awesome:

Later on we had enchiladas and daiquiris because that night was also....MY 21st BIRTHDAY.
So we had quite a bit of fun...especially when our friend Allyson drove to her house and we all played BALDERDASH.  We also enjoyed birthday cookies and an edible arrangements that my parents sent!!!!

Sunday we went on a trip to Trader Joes, I met Taylor's sister, and we all went apple picking.

Monday we went out for breakfast again and got haircuts and "did homework".  Tuesday, sadly was our day to leave and head back.  We left around 2:30 and got back to school happily at 6:30


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Breakfast in the Gardens

This past Wednesday I had breakfast in the teaching gardens with my First Year Seminar.  If you remember, I took Gardening: Digging Down to the Roots.  It was an absolutely amazing class and I met my best friend there!  In class we made seed bombs and planted our own plants- succulents that don't require constant watering (perfect for college students).  So our professors Lubkowitz and Bang-Jensen contacted us this September to tell us that they were organizing an reunion breakfast in the gardens! It was such a wonderful and beautiful surprise to have professors that so cared about the class they taught and wanted to see us again all together.  Here are some pictures of us drinking coffee and enjoying pastries with our classmates:

This one Taylor took
This one was taken by an SMC photographer and you can see me! (right side in white sweater)

Also, I got a chocolate bar (sea salt and almond special Lake Champlain chocolate) for showing evidence that my garden lives!

It thrives! Ok well that's all for now folks.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

There's a hole in the ceiling

So a little while back we had a house emergency.  The toilet malfunctioned and sprung a leak.  That meant that there was water seeping not only out of one of the pipes, but into our living room from the ceiling.  Luckily we thought fast and called public safety.  They were obviously not the right people to call but they transferred me to the power plant.  From there I explained the situation and within 2 minutes (I kid you not) we had a man at the house.  They must have sent out a call to all the men who come to fix the little problems that occur in the houses and one showed up!  He was a very, very nice guy and fixed the leak and had to remove some of the drywall to see about the pipes in the walls.  That's why we now have a hole! 

 Mostly though, I just wanted to write about how quickly they responded and helped us in our time of need!  This week it should be fixed and be as good as new. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Alumni Weekend

     Last weekend was Alumni weekend! Normally it really would not have meant much to me, but last year I lived with 3 wonderful seniors that I became really close with.  Two were able to visit and stay the weekend!  Sam and Caitlin came and stayed with us in our townhouse and one of the fun things we did was go to Apple Island, north of here, to visit a farm and enjoy the fall foliage.

Friday, September 6, 2013

the Main Floor

     Previously I stated that the main floor of our townhouse was not blog ready.  What I really meant was that we didn't really have decorations yet and hadn't finalized the placement of the furniture!  Now it seems that we're all ready and organized for a photo shoot:

This is the entrance to our house: as you walk in you see records

This is our combination dining room and common room

Some extra shelving to help organize

Some record sleeves

Our cozy kitchen

     So that's it! I went to the Salvation Army up the road with my girl Taylor and we bought the records for $.25 each and the blanket on the wall above the chairs for $1.  Pretty good deal for all of that and now our home is comfy and cool!