My baccalaureate examination is just around the corner! And by that, I mean it is in four weeks on April 28th, which still seems way too soon. In case you do not know, every student at New College has to pass a baccalaureate examination, which is an oral presentation and defense of your thesis in front of your peers and a chosen group of professors (your committee members). You have to turn in a full, well-edited draft of your thesis to your committee members about a week or two before you give this formal defense. Basically, this means I have a few weeks to finish my thesis and turn it in to my committee, which consists of three Psychology professors with whom I have worked closely over my years here at New College.
I am not feeling very good about my bacc right now but I am sure I will start to feel better about it as I finish more of my thesis. I have two incomplete sections of my thesis right now, which worries me but I am trying to maintain positivity. I am ready to bust all this work out and be done with my thesis to be honest! I am proud of all the work I have done so far though. I have written 41 coherent pages, which never ceases to impress me. I think the most encouraging aspect about this entire situation is watching my page count increase as I write. Nothing inspires me more than seeing that I was able to change my word document from being 20 pages to being 32 over a weekend!
I also am lucky to have an amazing adviser. She always puts me back on track when I feel lost and keeps me grounded when I start freaking out about something. I just finished my statistics for my thesis, which was a major source of panic for me. Fortunately, I had two wonderful professors help me figure out what statistical tests I wanted to run on my data and how to run those tests using statistical software. The best thing about writing your thesis is truly discovering how awesome and helpful your professors are. Occasionally, thesis students do not feel satisfied with the amount of support provided by their thesis advisers. Most if not all of these students find another professor(s) in their area (or even outside of their area!) who can give them the support that they require.
Without doubt, the thesis project is daunting for every single New College student. However, after three years at New College, I would say that every fourth year has the ability to write a great, coherent thesis after three years at New College. We do have had some fifth-year students and above but sometimes personal obstacles can keep you from finishing your thesis in time. A common obstacle for not finishing the thesis in the fourth year is indecision over the thesis topic or the Area of Concentration. Some students also encounter problems in their personal lives that keep them from finishing their thesis in time, which is unpredictable and unfortunate. However, for the majority of us fourth years who do finish our theses on time and graduate in May, the entire thesis experience is both fulfilling and rewarding. First and foremost, we have the experience of writing a thesis, which is something that many people with only a Bachelor’s Degree lack. For those of us who plan to go further into academics, writing a thesis helps prepare us for all the writing still ahead of us. We also have seen ourselves conquer something that may have once seemed difficult or even impossible at times. I know that has to spark a certain amount of confidence and pride in ourselves!
Before Spring Break, I went to the bacc of my friend and fellow admissions blogger, Matt. He is one of my fellow thesis advisees not only in the field of Psychology but also under our shared advisor, Heidi Harley. His bacc was nothing less than amazing, I must say. He was a great presenter and was able to share his charming personality with the crowd while simultaneously explaining his complex thesis in a concise and understandable manner. For me, his bacc was motivating. Not only am I glad to have his perspective as a Psychology student who recently passed his bacc, but I also gained so much insight and knowledge from seeing my peer present so well on his thesis. If you have not seen his blog post about his bacc yet, you should scroll down and read about it from his point of view!