An investigative team at the Golden Antlers has determined that many seniors at the Claremont Consortium are in the process of writing a thesis. Rumors of a thesis requirement for many courses of study shocked the underclassmen surveyed. “I had no idea that my senior friends had been working on such a daunting project,” wrote one CMC sophomore. “I haven’t heard a single complaint about how they have to balance their thesis with their demanding upper-division courses or spend their afternoons, evenings, and early mornings at the library.”
After some investigation into the best-kept secret at the 5Cs, the Golden Antlers is able to confirm that over fifty percent of 5C seniors are hard at work on their theses. Professors interviewed by GA staff have provided some details about the thesis, describing it as a “capstone project” that is “substantially longer than a standard research paper.” Some faculty have gone so far as to call the thesis a graduation requirement.
Perhaps most surprising is the culture of secrecy and silence among the seniors themselves. In facing such an overwhelming task, one might expect the affected parties to seek solidarity and support from each other. However, it appears that most seniors have chosen to suffer alone. “No one talks about it. I thought I was the only one in my class writing one,” reports a tearful Scripps senior, who disclosed that her own thesis examines the interrelationship of transnational feminisms, food justice, and oppressive discourse, more specifically “otherizing the other,” in organic asparagus packaging. Seniors have even avoided using social media platforms to complain and compare their progress with each other. “I’ve never seen so much as a Facebook status about a chapter deadline,” the same Scripps senior says.
At press time, the Scripps senior community in particular had begun agitating for change. Scripps Associated and Assertive Students, SAAAS, is reportedly planning to host a Be Heard forum about the existence of thesis. Several seniors have come forward to share their stories in moving Instagrams of coffee mugs beside their stacked books, using hashtags to urge their peers to break the silence. Thus far, action at the other colleges has not been so decisive. Some Pomona seniors have allegedly “learned so much” that they do not need to write a thesis, creating divisions within the senior class. Thesis silence is most pervasive at Harvey Mudd, where students from every class year have historically refrained from discussing their rigorous workload.
– Theresa Iker SCR ’14