Monday, May 14, 2012

Reasons I don't like you: master's student edition

You guys.

I'm sorry.

That was like, an unprecedented dry spell, wasn't it?

I'm back now.

Here's the deal: May is Hell Month in the life of Alyssa.

See, my regular, full-time day job is at a university. One of my duties is editing and compiling the academic catalog each year. This wraps up in May so it's a very busy month in my day job.

My second, side job is as a Thesis Reader, also for the university. I proofread master's theses and doctoral dissertations before they go to publication. Students turn them in each year in, you guessed it...May. At the moment I have 14 of these (ranging from 50 to 200 pages, depending on the discipline and on the student and quite frankly, on the student's discipline), all due back by the end of the month.

Then there's my third job, blogging. And also my new Etsy shop (coming soon: an actual post featuring products from said Etsy shop and possibly even a giveaway!).

And oh yeah, I have a husband and two children and a home and laundry and what not.

So. That's why you haven't seen much of me.

Thesis reading is a fun job. By fun I mean not really fun so much as interesting except when it's not interesting at all and it's excruciatingly boring or worse, painful.

I've been doing this for 5 years now and I'm quite good at it. I can tell when I open one whether it'll be fun or interesting or boring or painful. Here are some of my red flags.

1. If your thesis is more than an inch thick, I don't like you.
2. If your major is anything in Education, chances are, I don't like you. And also I fear for the youth of America.
3. If there's a typo on your title page (YES IT HAPPENS), I really don't like you.
4. If I go to cross-check your references and I can't find John Bowling because he's on page 4 of the reference list, I don't like you. Anybody whose name begins with B should appear on the first page. If Bowling is on page 4 THAT'S TOO MANY REFERENCES FOR ME TO CHECK AND GUESS WHAT I DON'T LIKE YOU.
5. If your thesis contains more than 2 tables, I don't like you.
6. If your thesis contains figures, I don't like you.
7. If you use a lot of words like "t-test" and "bivariate" and your thesis is peppered with seemingly random italicized letters like n and s, I don't really like you. Yes I know what this stuff means but I don't want to and I blame you.
8. If you're a Psychology major with a concentration in Behavior Analysis and you've written a 150-page thesis about pigeons pecking colored buttons, I do not like you.
9. If your margins are wrong, I don't like you. Seriously. They're margins. If you can't handle setting your margins, I'm terrified of what else I'm about to experience.
10. If you didn't use APA to format your thesis, I don't like you. Yes, I was an English major and we used MLA, but that was more years ago than I care to count, and since then I've become thoroughly converted to APA. I especially don't enjoy having to learn Turabian overnight so I can proofread your thesis.
11. If you didn't proofread, I do not like you.
12. If you misuse hyphens, we will never be friends. I don't like you.
13. If you think "data" is a singular, I don't like you.

So. How has your May been so far?

The good news? In June I get paid for this nonsense and in June I WILL BE RICH. And then maybe I'll like all these people a little more.

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