Siena’s Thesis Experience

Hi everyone!

Today I thought I’d talk about something that’s always on my mind… thesis! A thesis is a long-form project that we design our senior year, and we complete it as part of getting our degree. I knew when I chose Scripps that the thesis would be challenging, but I was excited to go to school in an environment where students were so passionate about their work that they got to do an undergraduate thesis project. And let’s be real, senior year of college felt pretty far away…

Now I’m really in the thick of thesis. For me, it’s due at the end of April and I’ve been working on it since last fall. With that in mind, I’m gonna share some things that have stood out in my thesis experience.

Thesis is daunting but really, really cool.

While this depends a bit on major, we get to do our thesis about whatever we want. There are some parameters, sure, but it truly is a self-designed project that is ours from start to finish. My history thesis is about Andean indigenous peoples in Bolivia and how they negotiated their involvement in state-building in the 19th century. Really niche, and perhaps not interesting to everyone, but it is to me! And I get to work on a project about it all year! It’s thrilling to be doing an “assignment” about whatever I want.

I’ve worked on my thesis all over campus, and I spent a couple of hours at this table reading some of my sources.

Thesis is more fun with friends.

There is a deep comradery between Scripps seniors because we are all completing our theses. From working together, to comparing notes from advisors, to sharing our ideas and research, I’ve loved developing my project at the same time that my friends are. I love getting to see their ideas develop just as mine are, I love hearing their support when I’m frustrated and providing mine in return, and I love celebrating them when they’ve reached a deadline or completed their whole project.

A good soundtrack is a must.

The blank page can be scary, but I’ve found that the right music can motivate me to dive in. I’ve really loved the “How to Train Your Dragon” soundtracks (yes, all three movies). You may laugh but they are fun and have an intensity to them that makes me feel like I need to write to survive. For the research elements, I always like classical or lo-fi music to immerse myself in the materials I’m using.

Faculty support is amazing!

Last, but not least, as wonderful as friends are, the support of the faculty is also necessary to get a thesis done. Not only do they know the logistics of, you know, how to make a thesis that will let you graduate, but they also have a lot of experience doing their own research and supporting students. We have two faculty readers that we choose who are the official thesis people for each student, but I’ve also talked to my major advisor and professors from other departments and other 5Cs about my thesis and gotten their support.

Alright, now I’ve got to get back to actually working on my thesis, but I hope this has helped you understand a bit more about what it’s like to complete a thesis here at Scripps.