In January 2001, during my junior year of college, I attempted to write my "Senior" thesis paper, because the next year I wanted to join the Service-Learning Interim trip, and didn't want to have to worry about writing a paper with so many other things looming before graduation, especially since I would have an Honors thesis due as well.
However, I was very naive and untrained in the ways of large-scale research papers, and it was a miserable failure. I procrastinated for months, even sacrificing most of my spring break to do research, and finally hurried up and edited my final drafts WHILE travelling in England that summer. (I was very thankful for e-mail.) I found out later that my professor didn't read it until November, and I could've continued working on it after I returned home! Ah, well. In hindsight, my advisor did warn me not to attempt writing a Senior Thesis before taking the Senior Seminar course, and I have to admit he was right. The folly of youth.
The only good thing that came out of that fateful January term was that I got to spend an entire month reading my favorite author! It was an entire course on C.S. Lewis' fiction-- we read the Narnia Chronicles and the Space Trilogy, and I got my first taste at "teaching" when the professor turned over one whole class to each of his "senior" students. I enjoyed it more than I liked to admit at the time.
Although my first attempt at a paper wasn't a smashing success, I managed to ramble on enough and quote enough proper sources to pull a B-. (The next year I discovered that a friend of mine had been in the exact same situation, even sharing the same advisor, and he gave her a B-, too, so I think he just took pity on us both!) Still, I've always longed to make up for that first sloppy attempt somehow, and I've kept the notes and articles in the hopes that I might one day find time to reconsider my thesis and possibly write a new paper. I definitely feel much more capable now.
Especially since I think I've discovered a new topic.
Part 2, where I describe my insights, will be automatically posted later Monday morning. :) So stick around. I promise the blog is coming back to life!