Undergraduate Student Blog, Speaking of Princeton

Undergraduate Student Blog

Author: Makenna May ’17

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho • French Language and Literature View Profile

Full Circle

My thesis is due on April 28 — next week! The last time that I met with my adviser, she recommended a book for me to read to help guide me with my editing this month. It's called "They Say, I Say" by Gerald Graff. And guess what? It's one of the books my Writing Seminar professor had us use when I was a first-year student! Using this book for both my first and last major research papers made me realize that I have come full circle (and that good advice is useful at any level of writing!). I thought that it was neat that this book would be so critical for me twice in my Princeton career, and I wanted to write a quick blog about it because I think that it shows how Princeton prepares you progressionally for the senior thesis over four years.

As a first-year student, you take a Writing Seminar to learn how to write and research as a scholar. The program is designed to make sure that all students have the same framework for writing research and college-level papers. At the start of your college career, it no longer matters how much or how little experence you had with writing during high school. Your courses during the first two years challenge you to practice these skills with 10-15 page final papers. Your Junior Paper (JP) gives you your first experience working directly with a faculty adviser in your department and writing longer papers, typically 20-30 pages in length. And then you work with a thesis adviser for your final work!

My thesis is called "Educating the Elite: Examining the Role of Privilege within the French Grandes Écoles and the American Ivy League Universities in the 21st Century." I am at the point where I both love working on it and can't wait to be done with it (You may know the feeling!).

I better get back to work, but I wanted to reassure those worried about the idea of a thesis that you will indeed be prepared. And congrats to the newly admitted Tigers! We hope to see you on campusduring the Preview programs this month!