“Thesis: a long essay or dissertation involving personal research, written by a candidate for a college degree” (Oxford English Dictionary). What’s the big deal?
In preparing for whatever (academic) pursuit comes next for me, I have placed a lot of emphasis in finding a place where I can develop and write a thesis that has been on my mind since the time I began taking philosophy classes in university. As the time to make concrete decisions draws ever closer, I inevitably have turned to questioning why it is so important that I ensure that I write a thesis.
Is the value of writing a thesis that it is an idea that I came up with? If not, why does it feel much less important/authentic to write an ordinary paper (really just a shorter thesis) on a topic assigned to me?
There is definitely something meaningful in the act of creation – a topic that understandably has a religious connotation, but is most clearly displayed for me now in writing blog posts like this one – so that creating something that you want to create is more important than creating something that others want you to create. This all sounds very Marxist, and I think he was on to something with the idea that common workers are less free in a sense than the owners of a company since the work being done is according to one party’s agenda, and not the other’s. But that only resolves the negative half of the question, why creating something I want to create is better than creating something because I was asked or forced to.
Why is it important to put so much of oneself (and based on interactions I’ve have with people in the process of writing theses, it really takes a lot out of you) into this process of creation, even if it is more meaningful than other types of creation?
Channeling an article that spoke to me by Peter Sims, I think that I will leave the question open. Maybe in time, as I get closer to, and eventually begin, the process of refining and then starting my own thesis, I will have some perspective to shed on the issue.