Undergraduate Student Blog, Speaking of Princeton

Undergraduate Student Blog

Author: Cricket Gullickson ’15

Rio, Wisconsin • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology View Profile

Thesis Bootcamp

It's not so bad, after all

"Thesis bootcamp." Ever since I first heard it, the phrase frightened me. I imagined some sort of drill sergeant in charge of a room full of cowering seniors, shouting orders for them to "Close out of Facebook!" and "Finally write that opening sentence!"

I avoided the fall break bootcamp. I stayed clear of the fall semester weekend bootcamp, too. It wasn't until intersession—our break that falls between the conclusion of finals and the start of second semester—that I finally volunteered myself for thesis bootcamp. With dozens of my classmates, I struggled to Butler dining hall at 9 a.m. through lunchtime on Monday through Friday to work on the draft I probably should have started weeks ago, and I discovered a shocking thing—thesis bootcamp really isn't so terrible, after all. In fact, it was kind of nice. Here are the reasons why: 

  • The coffee - I'll admit that I am an addict; it takes me at least one or two cups to wake up in the morning. With tons of Starbucks to look forward to, getting out of bed early didn't seem so bad after all. 
  • The snacks - Finding food during intersession normally means venturing out into the cold and snow of late January, but at thesis bootcamp the food is delivered right to you! Life couldn't get much better. But even this couldn't top... 
  • The camaraderie - This is what thesis bootcamp is truly about. There's nothing like sitting down with your friends in a room full of focused, hard-working classmates to get you motivated. Princeton can feel overwhelming and impossible at times (and being asked to write what is essentially a short book has been one of my hardest assignments yet!), and having the support of everyone else who is going through the same journey can be so important. Even the act of just sitting and working together can be enough to make everything feel a little better. It was great to make progress with my friends; it was so wonderful to congratulate them on their successes and to feel they were there for me on mine. 

With the support of my friends, a lot more coffee, a final spring break bootcamp, I will get my thesis done.