Thesis Students and other Dilemmas

Somehow, I wound up with eight Masters thesis advisees this semester, more than anyone else in the department. Knowing I was instituting a new program in Journalism this semester, I encouraged all of them to start their writing over the summer. I met with three of them consistently and they worked diligently easing the semester for all concerned. At the last minute, another student popped up from the clear blue. I had been her adviser of record over three years ago, but she disappeared. Now I have nine students.

Each student has to write a minimum of forty pages, not a big deal for a thesis, but think about trying to do this in Hungarian if you are not a native speaker. Most of them are so fluent, I forget English is not their mother tongue and wave off their concerns about filling forty pages. The worst of it is that they are required to have twenty-five books and four journal articles cited in their work. Considering the resources here, it is as possible as transversing the Appalachian trail without leaving Europe. becomes their best friend because they spend an inordinate amount of money on books, many that look great with the description, but are left wanting once they arrive.

The solution I have found for them is Questia online at, an Internet library. They can either use the free library or join for one month, get their research done, note the information they need for the Works Cited pages and voila, they have saved a ton of money.

Anyhow, reading, editing, suggesting, commenting on chunks of students’ work while still carrying on with the regular reading, editing, suggesting, commenting on students’ work in the semester classes, can seriously cause brain strain. After poring over one student’s thesis, I sent it back and she replied that she also went over it and found a number of spelling errors. My response was ” Gosh if you found typos in the first 20 pages, I should be fired for not finding them first. Distance is a great thing for improving your perspective from you own work.” Her response was what makes this worth the effort. ” I don’t think you should be fired! J It is not you task to correct every little bit of mistake. The depth of the comments that you make is exceptional, in any case.” On to the next thesis with a smile rather than a frown.