The Southern Belle and the Commodore both presented their thesis projects (thesises? thesi? theses, I think) the other day, and, unsurprisingly, passed with flying colors. Now I can welcome them to the Post Thesis Haze, the phase in which we come to terms with the fact that this Big, Looming Thing is really over and done with.
The Southern Belle commented on the weirdness of this while we walked around the track in the gym yesterday. She remarked how as freshmen, we were told we would have to complete a thesis, but we sort of ignored it for the first 2 1/2 years of our undergrad, until they made us attend a thesis proposal seminar junior year and the reality of the project suddenly hit home.
“And now it’s over,” she marveled. I nodded. The vague cloud of expectation that had been hanging over our heads since freshman year had dissipated, and its absence was a little strange. My thesis, the biggest thing standing between me and graduation, is over, but I still have a few final projects, a few more classes to attend, a survey or two to fill out. I thought all these things would conclude at the same time, but they refuse to line up that nicely.
We kept walking, past the huge posters of euphorically grinning students the gym plasters around the track to show how wonderful college is for your health. These posters have featured the same wide smiles since our freshman orientation (my favorite was the vet student in a lab coat high-fiving a pug), but sometime last week they updated them. New fonts, new slogans, new faces.
There’s something about the institutional-ness of College that always suggested to me that I would be the thing that changed over the course of my four years here. I, the organic, malleable, almost-adult, would shift and grow against the background of the unchanging brick buildings. But since I’ve been here, The University has added new dorms, gutted old classrooms, begun new projects that won’t be finished until after I leave. The editing and publishing certification I added to my degree is only 2 years old. Things have sprung up, collapsed, grown, shrunk. As a freshman, I thought that only the students would do all that. As a senior, I’ve learned otherwise.
Still, the literary side of me wishes the gym had at least kept the old posters until we graduated. It would have made for a neater ending.