presque à la fin

iBook and thesis draft

In a minute, I am heading to Wadham to print of a 110+ page draft version of my entire thesis: from title page to Appendix I (chemicals regulated in the Stockholm Convention). The major purpose of this is to identify any bits that are confusingly worded, incorrectly cited, badly formatted, etc. I am also trying to catch any notes to myself still embedded in the text. It would be embarrassing to discover something like “[EXPLAIN THIS BETTER!]” stuck in the middle of the copy filed for eternity in the Bodleian. This review should ensure that the version printed and bound tomorrow suffers only from any faults in my research and argumentation, not from minor annoyances that may annoy the assessors.

One thing I have discovered recently is that there is a better mechanism for dealing with those times when your brain feels like it has a sea urchin inside, or you are otherwise unable to write. Better than napping or brewing another pot of coffee is cycling ten miles or so: out to Yarnton to the north or through Marston to the east. This is something to bear in mind for when exams draw near.

[Update: 11:00pm] Only Murphy’s Law can explain it: I cycle over to Wadham to print off my draft thesis. It gets to page 56 and the only printer available for student use (HP Laserjet 4200n) suffers some kind of massive failure. All it shows on the screen is a double line of asterixes. The paper tray is somehow physically jammed so that it can only be pulled out about an inch before it encounters an unmovable blockage. Of course, there are no IT people around at this time of night and I don’t want to risk damaging such an expensive piece of equipment. Naturally, it charged me for printing the full 109 pages…

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

9 thoughts on “presque à la fin”

  1. Frustrating machines…

    I even tried printing using the manual sheet feeder. That is not allowed, however, because the non-existent paper jam blocks all printing until it is cleared.

  2. I just discovered that the acknowledgments section at the beginning of my thesis is borderline incoherent. This is not comforting.

  3. It was a (minor) printing fault that stopped me submitting my confirmation stuff yesterday (=Tuesday) Thankfully I don’t have a set in stone deadline…

  4. Next time you have a problem like that, contact the Computing Scholar. He lives at the very top of the staircase in which the computer room is based. The very top.

  5. A Wadhamite student,

    That is the first place I went. He was not in his room when I looked and didn’t respond to my email until around noon today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *