shhh... it's a secret

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thesis writing is bad for your health (and undoubtedly, your sanity)

I'm taking a break from thesis writing to tell you about how writing a thesis could, quite possibly, kill you. Or at least destroy your health and drive you insane. 

For the record, not that anyone cares, I am now 59 pages into what I expect to be a 120 paged thesis. I have three and half chapters left to write and one chapter still in need of some polishing. (If you're keeping score, I have two chapters completed and half a chapter in second draft stage, for a grand total of seven chapters. I'm done boring you now.) 

I will graduate in May, I will graduate in May, I will graduate in all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy*.

Back to my point, thesis writing is bad for your health

For one, you will be chained to your work space of choice for most of the day. You will, most likely, be seated for a majority of the time, thus resulting in some horrible tushy expansion. If your work space of choice happens to be your bed (mine is) you will spend all of your time there. Not only will you be sleeping and typing in your bed/work space, you will also be eating there. 

Eating while thesis writing is sloppy work, what with the whole typing with one hand while trying to shove food in your mouth thing. You will soon tire of this task and the resulting mess and stop eating altogether. Unfortunately, since you long ago stopped cleaning your room and laundering your clothes you have a work space situation that now looks like this:

and like this:

You will soon discover ants in your bed. Most likely attracted there by the bagel crumbs and salsa spills from two weeks prior. (you stopped eating, remember? That filth has been there for awhile.) It will then occur to you that you should do some laundry

At this point you will be faced with a dilemma; do you A) spend the entire day washing the eight loads of laundry piled up on the floor** in the small washer in your basement, or do you B) haul your laundry to the laundromat and get it all done in a couple of hours? This is a no-brainer. B it is, however you're now faced with another dilemma. 

Going to the laundromat requires that you go out in public. Do you A) take an hour to shower and put together some semblance of an outfit, or do you B) say fuck it, go dirty but brush your teeth and throw on the first articles of clothing that look (and smell) fairly clean? No-brainer again. B it is, shit, it's not like you can even remember the last time you showered at this point, so what's one more day? (seriously, I've been wearing my hair in braids for the past three days and I've had a hat on for one, maybe two. Not a good sign)

 Aren't I purdy? In case you're wondering, that paper clip is there for safe keeping. I lose them (and the one pen I have in my room) all the time. I may or may not have ripped my room apart looking for a lost paper clip. And my pen. (maybe I should raid my car)

So, you pack up the laundry and hit the road. Of course, you're going to need quarters. Lots of quarters. You take a quick trip to the grocery store to get coffee, water, a roast beef sandwich, a Glamour magazine and $20. (my bank doesn't have a branch or an ATM in my town. Back off.) Despite the fact that there is a customer service desk AND a bank branch in the grocery store, you head off to another bank to get your $20 exchanged for quarters. (past experience has taught you that the snippy teen at customer service doesn't like to part with quarter rolls and the bitch at the bank won't exchange your money unless you have an account there.)

You arrive at the laundromat, load up the entire wall of super-speedy, heavy-duty washers with all the clothes, towels and bedding you own. (hey, you're desperate and you've got shit to do. You can't be waiting around for slow, shitty washers all day. Plus, it's a Tuesday morning and you're the only one there.) The laundering process is pretty uneventful, aside from the nasty-ass coffee you drank, the questionable roast beef sandwich you scarfed down and the nasty green spider you grabbed a hold of while unloading your wash. 

On your way back home you notice a stench in your car that you earlier mistook for the smell of scuzzy, dirty clothes. This is when you realize the travel mugs of coffee you left in the car three weeks ago are still chilling in the cup holders. You arrive home (gagging and cursing the asshole who hit a skunk in the road in front of your house and the bus driver who just ran over the mutilated carcass for the millionth time), grab the two travel mugs, your bag of thesis work and your duffel bag of laundry (you'll go back for the basket and the water later) and head inside. 

In the process of unlocking the back door, you manage to drop one of the precariously balanced coffee mugs. You watch in horrifying slow motion as the mug tumbles out of your hand, smashes into the door, bursts open, and spills coffee chunks all over the entryway, and worse yet, your bag of thesis work.

You spend the next fifteen minutes cleaning up curdled coffee, trying desperately not to barf. Having cleaned up the mess, brought in the rest of the laundry, popped open a beer (hey, it's 5:00 in the UK), put away the laundry, recovered from having your closet shelf come crashing down on top of your head, you finally settle back into your work space. You get set for another afternoon/evening of thesis work, all the while scratching at the ingrown hairs that have sprouted (or not, I guess) on your legs, which haven't been shaved in about two weeks. Oh, and now your two-years worth of blood, sweat and tears smells like a dead baby. (I'm assuming dead babies would have a sickly-sweet, nauseating rotten milk smell to them)

See? Thesis writing is bad for your health. I should get hazard pay for this or something. Okay, time to pop a vitamin (it's all about sustenance, people!) and get back to work. Sleep, after all, is a luxury while thesis writing. Only five more weeks, folks. Five... more... weeks... When you look for me at graduation, I'll be the zombie/mummified skeleton in the ant-infested gown, dragging herself up by her broken and crippled hands (typing is a bitch!) to get her diploma. 

Be proud. Me? I'm seriously disgusted by myself, but I know it's only temporary (right? RIGHT!?) and all will be well again soon.

*  For the record, I try to refrain from wielding my axe while on my crazy, drunken, reclusive genius tirades. Just looking out for the housemates.
** This photo was taken a week or so ago, so you can't really get a good idea to what extent the clothes pile grew. I was half expecting Marjory the Trash Heap to raise her snooty head out of it. 


Krista said...

You're disgusting. :-) Just kidding. But seriously, take a shower! (Does it REALLY take you an hour to shower? What the hell are you doing in there? That's longer than me!)

brokenbeaker said...

That's hilarious, I'm also a grad student but not at the "thesis stage" yet, I'm pretty worried though. You're definitely not alone, my room looked like that all through undergrad exams and I think showering is something that becomes optional while trying to obtain higher education.

WhisperingWriter said...

Good luck with your thesis.

My son's room looks like now. But he doesn't have a thesis as an excuse. He just has too much crap.

April said...

You'll all be happy to know I finally showered and my room is no longer a disgusting pigsty.

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