On Wednesday, the 8th of May, nine BCB seniors gathered in be’kech Anti-Cafe in Moabit to present their thesis research to a room full of students and strangers alike. The event, titled ThesisSlam, attracted a total of 40 people who all cozied up in the basement of the cafe.
David Kretz is a BCB alum from the class of 2016 currently completing his Ph.D. in Germanic Studies and Social Thought at the University of Chicago. Early this May, he gave his time to write up insightful and constructive responses to my questions on his academic journey leading up to and since BCB, his current research, projects and opinions relating to a liberal (arts) education, words of advice for current and graduating students, and more.
This compilation is inspired by the blog Lolmythesis, in which contributors are asked to “sum up years of work in a single sentence.” I asked BCB seniors to make similar one-sentence spins on their theses after a year of hard work. Fear not, the real theses are far more academically rigorous than portrayed below.
I was always most secure writing from my own point of view, referencing small areas of the world that I knew inside and out. But in my fiction workshop, we focused on the point of telling: the point of telling is not about who narrates a story but from where they are speaking.
You kept thinking about this concept of a Berlin family ever since your mom said it. You felt that she was right. More than just being incredibly fun and laughing at your jokes, these friends were there for you when you needed them, and you have tried to do the same for them.
We’re approaching that time of year again: Commencement. Like the empty space after a chapter before the next one begins, or that small pause between an inhalation and exhalation where you’re not quite holding your breath but just letting the fresh air sit there, comfortably and in anticipation, it looms six short weeks down the road from thesis submission day.
On Monday, February 26, warning strikes and protests erupted in Germany from across the public sector. Those taking to the streets included teachers, nurses and park administrators, causing school and daycare closures and slowdowns in hospitals and government offices.
Going to school these last few months has been like watching the last grains of sand in an hourglass slowly trickle into the bottom bulb, and I’ve been racing against time, trying to make the most of even the most mundane parts of campus and campus life.