For Princeton seniors beginning the final sprint to their thesis deadlines, this desktop scene from 1940 may look somewhat familiar (with a different keyboard, of course, and some changes to the peripheral refuse).
As student columnist Jill Smolowe â77 once wrote in PAW, the thesis âstarts as a distant and incomprehensible word your freshman year, creeping up silently through the middle-class years, only to pounce with a fierce vengeance in the autumn of your senior year.â By the time the second semester arrives, it can seem all-consuming: âYour well-being and your thesis become synonymous.â
Of course, itâs not all work and no play â or at least it wasnât for another student columnist, Richard Kluger â56, who explained the secret to a strong senior year: â[G]ive the impression of feverish, utterly devoted academic activity probing into realms never before trammeled by white bucks while, at the same time, maintaining a well-rounded schedule for goodfellowship and gaiety.â
And when the thesis is complete, itâs celebration time. Woodrow Wilson School majors hold the most visible party, making a cathartic plunge into the fountain outside Robertson Hall. David Baumgarten â06 covered the 2005 event for a PAW column and interviewed then-senior Jay Saxon â05, whose words will undoubtedly sound promising to todayâs thesis-writing cohort: âWhen I wake up tomorrow, Iâm going to have nothing to do except enjoy Princeton and enjoy my friends and enjoy the sun. Itâs going to be amazing.â