On this day, at 5pm, I will be done with my two-semester long thesis process (I suppose it is past 5pm now posting this but the writing took place early this morning pre 5pm deadline…act of procrastination, if you will). It has been a rollercoaster with all parts included. First was the decision to take the ride, a self-selecting, self-challenging, and almost self-loathing prophesy. As an economics major, it is not required to write a senior thesis or do some form of culminating senior work (although I believe this has since changed and I was grandfathered into the old system) so those of us who choose to are making this decision for ourselves and ourselves only. No one else but yourself is putting you in the seat, and your very own driver’s seat, to launch yourself into a thrill ride the likes of Kingda Ka, a ride that shuts down at the slightest signs of precipitation. However, this ride includes not only the largest and steepest vertical plummet of the green tracks, but also the twist and loops of Batman and the flying thrill of Superman. Rain, snow, ice, or shine this ride is open and ready to go. (For those unfamiliar with the roller coaster references, please visit the New Jersey 6 Flags park map for clarification. However, these are merely metaphors for the adventure that is the thesis process, much popcorn included). So now you have decided to embark on this process and are waiting in the metaphoric line that is hoping to get your thesis topic approved. You have mustered up the strength to put yourself out there and now you keep your fingers crossed that you make it to the front of the ride before it closes.
Approved! Great. Now you are stepping in, strapping on your seat belt, and wildly excited while simultaneously nervous for the next few seconds, minutes, and in reality, months. You are not alone, however. You have the support and guidance of your advisor as well as the other students who have decided to take the same trip. You are ready to begin.
Woosh! And somehow you are in it all. All the rush, the ups, the downs, the turns you never knew you were going to take, the surprises beyond the next corner, the slows of the climb and the adrenaline of the decrescendo. This, of course, for me was related to the research process, diving into more empirical studies in macroeconomic growth literature than I knew was physically and mentally possible, and the analytically driven methodology, models, and STATA coding. More interests. More equations. More variables. More endogeneity (we don’t want that, okay, now back to the drawing board). New interests. New equations. New variables. More endogeneity. Okay, now a larger drawing board, more erasers, and definitely more chalk.
It was a transformative ride that has all culminated to a presentation, a poster, and one large paper. While the car has pulled back into the station with all passengers intact, perhaps a few misplaced hairs due to high velocity of travel, an unkempt look of a wind brushed face, and a smile of gratitude and satisfaction for successful completion, they each may laugh at the idea of getting on again. Funny enough however, they each would. Perhaps not right away, perhaps needing a break to look back on the experience to laugh and smile at all the hours, triumphs, headaches, coffee breaks, and stress dreams. But, they each would do it all again.
5pm. You are coming ever so soon, not fast enough, yet too soon to unbuckle the seat belt. It has been a great ride.