To write or not to write?

Bethany English

English major writes novel for homework

Hanna Brady is getting the chance to write a 175-page fiction novel and earn 10 college credit hours while doing it.

Brady, a senior English major, is participating in the senior thesis program through Kent State’s Honors College. Over the course of two or three semesters, honors students plan and create a thesis that focuses on some aspect of their major.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to hone in on a single project and spend a year on it,” Brady said in an e-mail interview.

For such an extensive project, the amount of research and time required that goes into creating a thesis can cause some students who would have participated to forgo that opportunity.

Skyler Edenhart-Pepe, junior aviation management major, is just such a student.

He said the time needed to complete his thesis would require him to stay at Kent State for an extra semester, and his parents are not willing to pay the out-of-state tuition costs for something that is not a necessity to his graduating.

The thesis is something that is only offered to honors students, but Victoria Bocchicchio, senior thesis coordinator, said other students are welcome to join the Honors College to complete a thesis if they meet the criteria.

In order to join this program, students need to show academic comprehension and commitment, such as having a GPA of no less than 3.2.

Bocchicchio said she felt it was important that any interested student who met the requirements be allowed to participate.

“It gives students an opportunity to really create something of their own,” she said.

Brady joined the Honors College just for the chance to work on a thesis because she said it was the only way an undergraduate could write a novel.

“For me, as an aspiring writer, it is excellent practice,” Brady said. “One of the stumbling blocks of starting out as a writer is finding time to write. This forced me to produce material on a deadline.”

Bocchicchio said about 45 students are writing theses this semester in various forms such as handbooks, novels and research papers.

Not all students, however, find the extra work worth the benefits.

Sarah Ledger, senior nursing major, said she decided not to write a thesis after she considered all the other commitments she already had.

“I felt it would stress me out,” Ledger said. “It would be another project constantly weighing on me.”

Ledger carries a full-time class schedule, and she also works part-time. She said she “doesn’t have free time as it is now,” and she didn’t see how she could squeeze in an extra 10 credit hours worth of work.

Bocchicchio said the thesis is mostly aimed at preparing students for graduate school, and this proof of their abilities is a good way for them to acquire funding.

For Brady, the thesis process consisted of a repeated writing and editing process. Then, she revised with her thesis director and went over her editing more closely.

“Lastly, I did some research on submission guidelines as though I were going to send the manuscript to publishers,” Brady said. “I will be sending this out when the book is complete.”

Contact honors and international affairs reporter Bethany English at [email protected].