This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Photo credit: Craig Burdett

Poetic License: Molly Finkelstein ’08

It seems that the rest of the class of ’08 loves the library as much as I do. Hundred Nights [Before Graduation] is being hosted in the library lobby this year, in honor of our very exciting class gift of . . . more senior thesis carrels in the basement of the library. And people are excited about this gift. I’m excited about this gift. Everyone wants a carrel — a place to research, store your books, cover in post-its, a place you’ll end up never wanting to see again. That’s what I hear, anyway. I don’t have one. Not that I actually need a carrel, really, anyway — the beauty of the “creative thesis.”

My thesis, conveniently due the Tuesday after spring break, is a collection of poetry. I always feel a little bit pretentious — but also like a quintessential liberal arts student — when I finally admit what my project is. I feel a certain guilt about not doing a research thesis, but, in the end, I’m glad not to spend hours and hours of my life locked in a cubicle trying to decipher Dada poetry and its role in politics (none?). I actually enjoy working on my thesis; I like the possibilities. If I really wanted to, I could have a section called “Ryan Cabrera is a Tool and Other Poems.” As it stands now, my thesis includes poems about the President of France jogging in shorts, Mr. Peanut, vomit, mashed potatoes, and a girl who tries to seduce Michelangelo’sDavid.

The creative thesis is one of my favorite things about Vassar. We really get the opportunity to explore whatever we want, to a large extent. One of my housemates was in a play for her thesis; another housemate did an opera performance. Not every thesis needs to born in the basement of the library. Academic freedom is really the greatest gift of all.

March 2008

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