So, a week has now passed since I achieved the small milestone of handing in my Masters Thesis. That probably doesn’t sound like a big deal to many – it’s a piece of work which, after all, I signed up to complete, and all I have done is complete it!
However, I did actually find it rather stressful due to a combination of bad timing, bad planning and a number of other challenges thrown into the mix. Nonetheless, that is a tale for another time, because the purpose of this post is to address the lack of honest acknowledgements which I put on the actual document, through fear of failing before they had even read the work. So without further ado, I present to you an alternative acknowledgements section, designed as a salute to all the things that without which I would not be sat here, smugly writing about the fact I no longer have work to be doing.
For reference, the acknowledgement paragraph actually used in the thesis is given below:
“I would like to express my sincere thanks to Dr Simon Gosling and Dr George Swann, for both the expert knowledge and skilled guidance which they have collectively offered, and for their continued patience in the time it has taken to complete this thesis. My thanks also to everyone who has helped support, encourage and facilitate my completion of this piece of work. Without the extensive support of family, friends and colleagues, this would not have been possible.”
Honest, yes. Politically structured, maybe. Complete, no.
Here is my revised acknowledgements section – complete, unpolitical, unprofessional, possibly unorthodox, but definitely more honest…
“I would like to express my sincere thanks to the makers of Budweiser. Not just Budweiser. Whilst this has been largely my beer of choice (I mean, king of beers…), other beers have featured too. Many other beers. In all different shapes, sizes, geographical locations, with different company and on many different occasions. Whilst not every beer I have consumed over the past 18 months has been conducive of thesis writing, they have all helped in the ‘journey’. From inspiring beer fueled bar debates concerning renewable technologies (including the shooting down of a random man who had put his life’s work into desalination plants only to be ripped apart by a certain good friend of mine…), providing some down time away from writing (a great excuse to get drunk with your non-thesis writing friends), and just through being a solid staple which made long evenings of sitting at a computer screen that little bit more bearable. I can now open a bottle using a variety of desk top items – a skill which should not be underestimated in times of a lack of bottle opener. To beer, and to Budweiser, I offer my eternal gratitude, thank you.
My sincere thanks must also extend to the makers of Red Bull. Cliche maybe, but during the final month or so I think I consumed enough of this terrible liquid to fuel a rocket ship. I should also mention another skill I have picked up over the past few months, the ability to consume an entire can of red bull in the space of 4 seconds. Something to be proud of? I’ll let you decide that one. All I know is, I can do that now, and without this thesis, who knows how long it would take me.
More seriously (as will be very clear by now, I am a hugely serious person) thanks need to go to my friends. This also sounds terribly cliche and frankly awful… and may come as a shock to many of you who assumed the notion of me having friends was a little too far fetched… but this needs to be said. Over the course of 18 months, with continuous moaning, over tiredness, a lack of social motivation, more moaning and an unusual level of unexplained grumpiness, it becomes clear who your real friends are. So to those few who have listened, drank coffee with me, provided the odd motivating text or pat on the back, provided snacks or that sweet nectar that is red bull, joined me in (procrastinating) stress relieving runs/paddles/bike rides, I will be eternally grateful. This has been a challenging time for me, and undoubtedly I have been a challenging person to put up with at times, but to those friends who have been there the whole way through, and to those I have met on the way, thanks for sticking with me.
It feels appropriate here to also thank my family, they may not have vocalised their support in quite the same way, but they have had to put up with an equal amount of moaning and flakiness, so I offer my sincere gratitude to all of them (apologies, not sure quite when this turned into an Oscar speech). Also, though many are covered in the previous paragraph, to all my colleagues who have been super understanding and cut me some slack when completing the thesis, thank you. I literally would not have been able to complete in time if it weren’t for you.
Sugar and Caffeine, I salute you both. Also coffee shops. During the course of the past 18 months, I dread to think of the money that I have spent in various branches of Caffe Nero (along with a range of other coffee providers). For your WiFi, your coffee and your caramel shortbread, I am forever grateful. I am not proud to admit that I am now on first name terms at three different branches of Caffe Nero, and a fourth knows my order before I utter a word. Okay, maybe a little proud, but mainly just grateful for the staff, who, despite the fact I have spent enough time in there to suggest I have no home to go to, didn’t turf me out for being homeless. I would also like to add that I am under no delusion that there aren’t (many) better coffee providers out there, but for consistency, free WiFi and better coffee than I can get at home, thanks very much.
And now to Spotify, Youtube and Amazon. And the internet in general. You have provided me with so much – from the musical talents of Elgar through to that (let’s be honest) GREAT album Justin Bieber brought out in 2015, from Ted Talks on bio-energy to Youtube videos of cats falling off things, from using amazon to buy textbooks to using amazon to watch entire series of Suits, and from searching for academic literature to investigating world record attempts at fitting marshmallows in one’s mouth (28 by the way). Internet, it has (mostly) been a hoot and I will forever be grateful for the seemingly endless hours of procrastination you have given me.
And finally, the biggest thanks must go to anyone who doubted I would complete this – I really just did it to prove you wrong.”