Last Thursday, I did one of the scariest things in my life. I presented at colloquium. Colloquium is a weekly lecture series that happens every Thursday at my graduate school. The presenters are often Ph.D. wielding researchers. The topics range from tone analysis to phonology, morphology to anthropology, and everything in-between. During my first and second year of graduate school, these presentations were often way over my head. It was only in my final years of graduate school that the colloquiums started to make sense to me. The audience is full of field linguists (most of whom have a Ph.D.) and linguistic students in undergraduate and graduate studies. It is a tough crowd full of tough questions.

So, you may be wondering, how was I pulled into presenting?

My thesis chair and the colloquium coordinator approached me two weeks ago to ask me if I would present. After I recovered from the initial shock, I agreed. How could I say no to my thesis chair? I already had a presentation ready from when I defended my thesis (just needed to tweak a few things). I had no excuses other than fear. So, I presented.

It was a milestone in my life as a linguist. I was surprised that I actually enjoyed giving the presentation. I made people laugh and many people came up to me afterwards truly intrigued at my research.

When I started this program, I never thought I would be one of those presenters. Now, here I am on the other side wondering when I will present again.

The Thesis

Writing an M.A. thesis is like wrestling a mountain troll. It requires research to know how to attack it, a committee of elders to give you guidance, and support from other fellow adventurers to tackle the beast without getting discouraged. When it is all said and done you are left feeling euphoric and tired, ready to head back home and sleep off the soreness of night after night of hard work.

However, in the middle of the fight, you need to keep your brain from exploding as you plot and plan your next move. It was during one of these breaks that "The Thesis" trailer was made with my fellow thesi (pronounced like fungi) adventurers.

I shot the trailer on my iPad in iMovie because it was as easy as dropping clips into a template.

Thesis Revisions

My twitter feed has consisted of two topics lately: coffee and thesis revisions. There seems to be a strong correlation between these two things for some reason. In light of that, I thought I would continue this theme on my blog.


In other news, I submitted my thesis for a final format check to my graduate school. I am in good shape to graduate this May and will be walking in August.

Thesis Writing - Survival Guide

Writing a thesis at the graduate level is difficult. It requires determination, courage, stamina, and caffeine. Having just experienced the rigors of graduate school thesis writing, here is the survival guide as I know it.

Survival Rules

  1. Coffee is your friend and its own food group
  2. Write, even if it is about ninjas
  3. Start a fitness program (This is not optional)
  4. Find your college librarian and hound them
  5. Content first. Pages count themselves so you don't have to.
  6. Under no circumstances eat without looking. It does not matter how into your thesis you are, you do not want to swallow a post-it note.


  • Coffee cup
  • Laptop
  • Snacks
  • Notebooks - preferably Moleskines.
  • Post-its
  • Pens
  • Tablet computer
  • Messenger bag
  • Nerf gun

The dress code for the graduate student is up for debate, but here I will present what I consider appropriate grad school survival clothes.


  • Cargo pants/shorts - Good for carring snacks, headphones, books, or any other items found on your quest for the perfect thesis.
  • Hoodie - The most comfortable item ever and valuable in parkour type activities such as: running to the cafeteria, picking up books from the library, and chasing down the ice cream truck.
  • Good sneakers - Don't want to give away your approach when looking for your adviser. Flip flops make way too much noise.

What are your necessities for graduate school writing?