PROX: Top 10 Post-Thesis Life Activities

By ERIC LEVENSON

With the opening of spring, seniors around campus are completing their theses and beginning their post-thesis life – or PTL, as it is often called. Here, the Prox provides the best suggestions for the PTL, a mix of learning in Firestone, HBO Go and a healthy diet of fun.

10. Attend lectures – I couldn’t tell you who will be speaking in Richardson or Woody Woo on Thursday, but you should be there. In general, some of these lectures can be vitally relevant to a class or interest; other times, the lecturer speaks on an obscure topic. Go to both. Just this week, there are talks on environmentalism from former EPA director Lisa Jackson, on HIV from the doctor who identified it in 1981 and a talk from ’12 presidential candidate Jon Huntsman. Use that free time to learn a little bit about a lot of things – that’s the whole point of a liberal arts education.

9. Read a book for fun – Turns out reading fast-paced novels is way more interesting than doing the reading “An Analysis of Pacing in Novels: A French Perspective.” Sadly, classes at Princeton make reading such a draining exercise. That’s a shame. Sink your teeth into some Harry Potter, or take up the Hunger Games series. (And if you have a Kindle or e-reader, 50 Shades of Gray.)

8. Learn a “smart-person” skill – The prestige of your alma mater matters less and less as each year passes out there in the real world. So, to prove to others that you are intellectually worthy, take time out now to learn a skill that people think smart people do. Learn how to solve a Rubik’s Cube. Read a book on how to win at chess. Memorize the capitals of every country in the world. These take practice, of course, but they will go further in showing your smarts than emailing them your thesis. Nobody’s wasting their time reading that.

7. Find a marriage partner – Hey, you’ve got to do this before you graduate, right Susan Patton?

6. Wander Firestone’s stacks – Stroll through the endless stacks of books, reading the back-of-the-book summaries of anything that catches your eye. Also recommended: reading through old magazines or newspapers. I recently discovered several years’ worth of Harper’s Weekly magazines from the 1890s in Tiger Inn’s upstairs library. Turns out this Spanish-American War was pretty important back then. (The Prince’s old archives are really interesting as well – http://theprince.princeton.edu/

5. Watch Game of Thrones – The 3rd season just began last week, so there’s absolutely time to catch up on the first 20 episodes and join everyone obsessed with the world of Westeros. Thrones is the best show on TV right now, bar none: the best story, the best acting and the best production value. I mean, did you see those dragon explosions and chopped off heads? Hell, you could watch every episode in the next two days with your girlfriend’s aunt’s friend’s HBO Go account. Now that’s productivity.

4. Show off your PTL status – You’ve worked hard for almost four tough years, all to enjoy just about a month of freedom. Be proud, and be sure to repeatedly and obnoxiously tell everyone you know that your Princeton responsibilities are completely done. “What do you think I should do today?” “Hey, do you have any TV recommendations?” “Man, I’m so BORED!” Then sit back and soak in that look of jealousy, hatred, and misery on seniors’ faces whose theses are due early May. Sucks to suck Physics.

3. Drink – With close friends and with former close friends. With preceptors and with professors. At TI and at Triumph; on the roof of Mathey, and in the basement of Butler. Extra credit if you combine this directive with any of the other nine suggestions.

2. Get a job – Oh, yeah, this one’s kind of important. Lost in the glory of the PTL phase is that HOLY CRAP I have no job or place to live or summer plans or health insurance oh man my life is such a mess. This should absolutely be #1.

1. Stay in bed all day – I was kidding about the last one. Finding a job is SUPER LAME, AMIRIGHT? Sleep till 1:00, eat that leftover PB&J sandwich from yesterday’s lunch and watch old episodes of Rugrats on Netflix. Those applications can wait. It’s time to treat yourself, because finally, you damn sure can.

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