Auntie Lee’s last minute thesis tools


Illustration by Madeleine Stolp.

Lee Thomas, Academic Genius

Auntie –

Please, dear God, help us. I gotta turn in my thesis draft soon, and my boyfriend just received some soul crushing feedback. Too much feedback. Please tell me you’ve got some thesis advice to make sure we graduate.

I’m too busy to come up with a quirky name

Dear Too Busy,

I’m still a third-year student and don’t have to start writing my own thesis yet (I’m not even thinking about it! Though I probably should be … Auntie likes to torture their future self). However, my overwhelming intelligence and 800 IQ knows how to get the job done and do it well. So this one goes out to all you seniors crying your eyes out in the library on a Tuesday night.

Start off with a jump, and you won’t need to stick the landing. Put most of your effort into a well-written synopsis or summary that precedes your actual paper, and odds are you might amaze some lazy readers into forgoing the work of reading the rest (not like myself, of course—I read every word of every paper I am assigned and critically scrutinize all of it), getting you a default A++. If you conceptualize a solid title, they might even stop there.

While many professors argue for the opposite, there’s a strong cultural belief that a longer paper = looking smarter. Use the age-old trick of increasing the font size of punctuation from pt. 12 to 14 to stretch those paragraphs out without being too verbose.

Just try harder. If your thesis receives an overwhelming amount of criticism from professors or other editors, that’s just your fault and you suck. So put a bit more effort in, alright? If you spend ten hours a day working on it, shoot for twelve to fifteen. Getting adequate sleep is far less important than winning the title of True Academic.

Good luck, and I’m glad I’m not you!