Life is Your Checklist


Today was a huge day for me: the day I turned in my Honors College thesis. This was the first of two days that I have been anticipating since I applied to the Honors College six years ago (the second is the actual defense in ten days). However, while I have been planning and re-planning my thesis every other month for the past five years, my final idea didn’t come into fruition until six months ago. Image

Inspired by the recent upheaval and frustration over the way universities handle sexual assault, my thesis advisor suggested that I write a proposal for a book about rape on campuses. Completely at a loss for a different topic, I decided to go with his suggestion.

This turned out to be one of—if not the best—decision I’ve made at the UO. While the topic was certainly draining at times (and for these moments, I suggest “bookending”), it was life changing to be given the opportunity to speak with so many strong women at different stages in their survival from assault.

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts in this blog about anxiety for graduation in a few weeks. The last few years have been so tightly regimented on our behalf. We had a certain number of credits and classes to complete in order to graduate, on top of the self-prescribed groups and extracurricular activities we thought were necessary to set us apart from the competition.

Well, we’re finally done with our checklists. The only thing still required of us is to pay off student loans. ImageSeriously, that’s it. If you’re anything like me (which I know you are at least a little bit since we’re all members of the high-achieving class of PDXSX-ers), then this makes you panic: we’re now accountable only to our own expectations of ourselves.

Personally, I’m going to take my experience with my senior thesis to heart. While I spent years trying to plan it out, which many better than me are able to do successfully, my life surprised me with an opportunity. I was reluctant at first, but that opportunity, now fully-realized, was life-changing.

Now you might say, “Blah, blah, blah, Laura. Your advice is so conventional and predictable.” Advice becomes repetitive and conventional because it works. Taking a step back from your life post-graduation and carefully-assessing all of your opportunities, goals and expectations can do you nothing but good.

Good luck PDXSXers, dream big. 😉

Laura Hanson 

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6 Responses to Life is Your Checklist

  1. cbuch232 says:

    I like your bookending suggestion. It seems as if there’s no time during the intermediate hours of the day to work on longterm tasks or self improvement activities such as working out or writing in a journal. But if you can develop a habit of doing so, it can be extremely rewarding. Congrats on finishing your senior thesis. It sounds really interesting!

  2. Your thesis sounds inspiring and I’m happy you’ve chosen a topic that really impacts the lives of many people! We’re so close and I know we can do it. Loans may feel stressful now but we’ll eventually make money (at least a little bit of it!) I try to focus on having good experiences rather than allowing the stress of life to overwhelm me. I’m not saying that task is easy, only that it’s one I hold central to my life.

  3. The bookending link was great! Long papers are super draining in general and then add on a strong topic. But it must feel nice to be done with your thesis! Also, you’re right, once we’re done with our checklist, it’s less responsibilities and structure from outside influences and after graduating all we have is ourself. Thanks for the post!

  4. This was inspiring! My parents always told me how lucky I am and that the best gift I’ve ever been given was to not have student loans after I graduate. I already have so much running through my mind that I couldn’t imagine having to pay off tens of thousands of dollars. Congrats on being done with your thesis! My friend has been working on hers for a long time and she was happy to finally have it behind her! Lets soak up the last few weeks of being in college as much as we can!

  5. davidhamernick says:

    Like some of the others here, I real;y liked your link to “The Art of Manliness” blog! I was just thinking the other day how nice it would be to have a standing appointment at a barbershop– like once every few weeks to a month. I agree that sort of routine can be very rewarding and keep us from going insane. It sounds to me like you already have a gift that a lot of others are afraid to pursue: adaptation. If you can adapt your thesis on a dime like that, you won’t have any trouble finding a job!

  6. What a huge milestone! Graduation, finishing your thesis AND being completely happy with it 🙂 I’m so excited for you, Laura! As far as the stress of entering the work world goes, it’ll all play out as it should. Reach for your biggest goals and you’ll definitely achieve them. Best of luck on the job hunt, and I’m with you on the student loans. We can all sink in them together 😉 Great post!

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