Personal Narrative: My Graduate School Thesis Essay

Personal Narrative: My Graduate School Thesis Essay

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There I was, poised with the first draft of my masters thesis, ready to jack it under the rear wheels of my car so that I could vent my anger and frustration. Never had I felt this kind of undiluted rage in dealing with a piece of writing. As far as I was concerned, the first draft was complete and therefore the entire piece was finished; however, my thesis advisor didn’t quite agree with me. A less deranged friend of mine talked me out of repeatedly backing over my thesis, and convinced me that it didn’t really matter if I did leave tire marks on it because I had multiple drafts on my disk. But still, I knew that it would just feel so good to leave some tire tread on the paper.

I had not written a thesis as an undergrad, and I was looking forward to this process. It took some time for me to find a professor willing to work with me, but after a number of false starts, I finally came to Peter Heinegg’s door. My thesis was based on the disparate work of Nathaniel Hawthorne and radical feminist theologian Mary Daly. Each week that I left Peter’s office, I found myself laden with at least five books that he deemed absolutely crucial to my writing and thinking process. At one point, I needed an English translation of a German text, and when I finally secured it, I opened the cover to find that the work had been translated by Peter. It was somewhat humbling to work with him because he was so intelligent; however, he was an absolutely amazing teacher and I credit him with helping me to fully understand the impact that revision has on the writing process.

At times, during the writing of our theses, my roommate and I were reduced to performing stupid hair tricks in the wee hours of the morning to entertain ourselves and to create som...

... middle of paper ...

...them before they are ready to learn this. I am the eternal optimist, however, so we continue to work on the revision process.

Being back in grad school has been an amazing experience because it has put me back in touch with my own process of writing; I am conscious of how I write in comparison to the way in which I expect my students to write. I find myself using the information that I share with them, although at times I feel the pressure that I must earn all A’s on my papers because if I haven’t mastered the process of writing, then I must be a bit of a fraud to be teaching it. But then I have to remember what I have learned about my own process, and what I continue to learn about my own writing process. I keep in mind the epiphany I experienced in graduate school, and I seek to share this information, for current or later use, with my students in the classroom.

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