From May to May: the Senior Thesis Writing Project (with Video Showcase) by Gemma Collins

Since I stepped into room 227 on my first day in Creative Writing, I’ve known about the senior thesis project. I read long spreadsheets of deadlines and watched the upper-level students disappear into mysterious workshops. For the past three years, it’s been looming over me—and last summer, I finally sat down and began. Beginning a long-term project is daunting. Before my senior year started, my cohort and I sat down with the older grade and discussed the project. “How do you pick what to write about?” “How do you balance writing with everything else in school?” “What’s it like to work with a mentor?” Questions bounced around the small seminar room like balls of yarn. The seniors met our worries with reassurance and promises of how accomplished we would be after. I sat and listened, unable to visualize an end but eager to get started. 

  I’ve always struggled with committing to long-term projects, and I worried that my excitement and inspiration for my thesis would dwindle quickly. Heather, our department head, assured my class that the project would represent our learning in Creative Writing. I felt daunted by the idea that my four years of high school came down to a stack of 50 pages in my hands at the end of the year. I was motivated, however, to push myself out of my comfort zone and enjoy the process. 

As I’ve almost finished my draft, I’m content not to stress too much over the process and use it to rekindle my passion for writing outside of assignments in class. While one of my favorite parts of the project has been the freedom to write whatever I want with minimal instructions, I’ve realized the significant initiative it takes to delve into this project. As a freshman in high school, I couldn’t grasp what Heather meant when she said the senior thesis was our most important graduation requirement. Now, I understand the depth of personal growth it has provided me through growing closer with my peers and enforcing deadlines on myself.

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