As a student at the University of Alabama, it feels almost required to take on a Nick Saban mindset to finish my thesis. Saban has all sorts of phrases and motivational slogans. A few personal favorites include: “If it means something to you, you can’t stand still,” “make his ass quit,” and a quote Saban himself borrowed from Martin Luther King, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry.” As far as I know, I haven’t been called to sweep the streets, but I have been called to write a thesis.
Following in the motivational vein of Nick Saban and MLK, I will try to write this thesis so well that they might say, “Here lived a great student who did her job well.” Here’s how I plan to do that.
The current semester officially ends December 15, but I’ll be done before then. The last thing I have to turn in is due December 12. That due date is for my final paper for REL 501 which will deal with the second chronological half of my thesis. This way, ideally, by the time this semester ends, I’ll have collected all the materials I need and written about all the physical items of the thesis at least once before. To get to that point, I need to do a few things. First, as tempting as it is to set aside for a while, I need to stay on top of my readings for my thesis, both the theory and the primary sources I’ll be using. The theory work is mostly just pulling quotes and collecting my thoughts in one place — the Word document titled “Thesis” (as if that’s not intimidating). I’ve collected quite a few primary sources and have a general idea of what’s in them, but now it’s time to do the real mining work and find the specific things I’ll eventually use. Second, I need to do my otherwise assigned school work. This seems obvious enough given the situation with my final paper for 501. Otherwise, I’m going to stay on top of this blog. It helps keep my writing juices flowing. And besides, I said I was going to blog every day this month.
Next semester is when the real shovel work begins. The defended and revised thesis needs to be submitted to the university by March 23. Tentatively that means the defense will be on or about March 16, which means it needs to be written by March 9 at the latest. I plan to have a basic draft completed by the end of winter break so that I can spend January and February editing, revising, rewriting, and so on. Lofty dreams, but goals are meant to challenge you, right? Once all of that is completed, I’ll have some time before the semester officially ends. Right now, I’m expecting to fill that time with two things: building a Scalar project of the thesis and finding a job. Hopefully both endeavors will be successful. While both those goals seem daunting now, I’m going to channel Nick Saban and trust the process.