Home Science Communication So many words, so little sleep. Thesis wordle.

So many words, so little sleep. Thesis wordle.

by Eva Amsen

I think I’m done writing. My supervisor now has my thesis, and is going to read it on Saturday to see if I still need to change things, and hopefully I can give it to my committee next week, and get all the paperwork done in time to defend before Christmas.

Out of about 30,000 words, these were the most prominent in my thesis:

thesis wordle
It’s about cells!

When making this (using Wordle) I noticed that I overused the word “also”, especially in the introduction chapter. I might go back and look at that.
The word “well” might appear suspicious too, but I used that to describe experiments I did in multiwell plates. Some of it might come from “as well”, which is just as well (pun intended), because it cuts down on the occurrence of “also” a bit.


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Bob O'Hara September 19, 2008 - 7:04 AM

This would make an attractive front cover to your thesis, wouldn’t it?

Richard P. Grant September 19, 2008 - 7:07 AM

What a fantastic idea, Bob.

Björn Brembs September 19, 2008 - 7:26 AM

Looks really cool!

Heather Etchevers September 19, 2008 - 7:29 AM

Congrats, Eva! The first draft is the most painful. You’re in the home stretch now…

Eva Amsen September 19, 2008 - 2:56 PM

Bob – I wish I could chose my own cover! I have to comply to UofT’s rules, which means I can pick a colour for the cover (as long as the binder has that colour) and then they print on it with tacky gold letters. So I’ll probably go with red, because nothing else goes well with gold letters, I think.
Heather – it’s not exactly the first draft. One chapter is completely done, one just needs a readover, one is on the third draft, and two are first draft. Altogether I only have two days (if not less) to edit this draft before giving it to my committee. My supervisor has grant deadlines and internal reviews and would have liked me to magically finish my thesis two months ago, but that was impossible…

Anna Kushnir September 19, 2008 - 4:00 PM

Congratulations, Eva! I really think that the writing is the toughest part of a defense. Everything else will be downhill. Hope you can take a couple of days to rest! Just keep visualizing the huge party at the end. Helped me through, just a handful of months ago 🙂

Eva Amsen September 19, 2008 - 4:11 PM

I find the waiting worse than the writing. I pulled two all-nighters to finish everything TWO WEEKS AGO, and my supervisor still hasn’t read it because of the grants. I’m just waiting, and stressing that I won’t make the deadline to hand in my defense request form in time because of all this. Also, I’m going to be in Holland for a week, so I want to hand in my thesis to my committee before I leave (this has to happen *before* the defense request, which is due in early October, which is almost.)
I found writing less stressful than waiting for edits when it’s so time-sensitive…

Cath Ennis September 19, 2008 - 9:41 PM

_In addition,_
I’d like to add my congratulations _too_.
My thesis had a black binding with gold letters and looks pretty good. That was the only permissable format for the copies that get submitted to the University and Institute libraries, but I could choose any colour I wanted for the copy I kept for myself and the copy I gave my supervisor as a gift. I chose… black. (The stress of getting my corrections done and securing my Canadian visa in the 10 days between my viva and my flight contributed to this creative decision). I did hear of people getting their personal copy bound in red, pink, gold, or – my favourite – their family tartan. This was in Glasgow, after all.

Brian Derby September 19, 2008 - 9:56 PM

I now have a shelf of theses from (mostly) long departed students. The most popular colour is black but with a few burgundy/maroon (EU passport colour) and more than one green. There are one or two softbound from cheapskates who are best unmentioned.
However, from memories of the pictorial cover on one of my undergraduate projects, the humour or obvious reason why you did it soon fades into embarassment.

Eva Amsen September 19, 2008 - 10:25 PM

In Holland PhD these are always softcover and with personal designs. They’re also printed in higher numbers, and friends and labmates all get a copy. I have so many from my friends back in Holland, and I can’t give them mine because I have to make it huge and expensive…

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