Rachel writes: Writing the ALM thesis–two of five chapters complete!

So far I’ve written two chapters (of five planned) of my ALM thesis, submitted them to my thesis director, and received them back with comments. I’m now working on my third chapter. My schedule allows for one chapter per month, so I plan on finishing all of the writing by mid-April. My thesis director prefers that I mail paper copies of chapters to him as I complete them, rather than send digital copies by email–I suppose that other thesis directors have their own preferences. But this routine suits me very well.

In my fantasies, I will finish early and graduate in May, but I think that will be pushing it. Alas, I need every day in my current schedule; so though I will nearly finish by that date, it won’t be quite early enough to meet the April 1 deadline set by the ALM office for submission of the completed thesis.

I am finding that it is very advisable that the bulk of one’s research should be complete before writing begins. I have had to run back to the Fine Arts and Widener libraries a number of times to check on things and go a bit deeper in some areas of my research. Another reason for researching thoroughly by taking notes early on from library materials is the dreaded “recall” notice, which compels you to return books requested by other library patrons. So it behooves you to take thorough notes and record the bibliographic data right away, just in case. Of course, the “recall” road runs both ways, and we can likewise request a book to be returned by a fellow scholar who has checked out a tome we must have for research . . .

Like many of us, I work full-time, so an overarching theme of being an Extension School student is actually finding the time to attend classes, research and write papers, and still do everything else we need to do. I am officially scheduled to graduate in November, and an interesting part of this arrangement is that I think it will leave me with the summer free, since my writing will have been complete by the end of the spring semester. Corrections, formatting, and binding will still remain to be done, however.

As you may know, the thesis isn’t complete until it’s been checked for format, printed, and bound, per the specifications of the ALM guide (the seventh edition of which is now on its way to you, if you are a degree candidate). So, since all of that finishing-up takes time, I will likely complete my writing by mid-April as planned, get the binding, etc, done as I can, and look forward to a mostly leisurely, laurel-resting summer.

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