Student - 3 juni 2019

Thesis room life: nightmare and paradise

When students start their thesis, they usually get a spot in the “thesis room”. It is usually an open office with many desks with desktop computers and a generally sterile and boring environment. But soon it becomes a home, says our blogger Donatella Gasparro, and you better make it nice.

When you start your thesis, you have to claim a desk in the feared thesis room. If you’re lucky and you enter this reign in a thesis low season, you spot a desk and simply use it. If you’re less lucky, you’ll spend the first weeks migrating from desk to desk until finally you’ll understand who uses which desk. Although they’re technically “flex desks”, people are by nature creatures of habit. You too, so you’ll soon be done with re-installing programs on all computers and you’ll settle somewhere. A strategy that apparently works is to leave traces. Mugs, post-its, papers, or simply your whole pile of stuff, on the chosen desk. Whether it’s fair or not, posterity will judge.

This room soon becomes your home, your war camp, your nightmare and your paradise. So much happens while absolutely nothing happens in a thesis room.

A thesis room can be extremely full, and you’ll complain about it, because it gets stuffy, noisy, messy. But it can also be extremely empty. Many Friday afternoons I spent melancholically turning on a chair missing my thesis friends, while looking at the empty parking lot outside the Radix window. A thesis can be a quite lonely and frustrating process, and sharing it with your mates always makes it lighter. ‘My data makes no sense.’ ‘Neither does mine’, and the days go by in collective happiness.

Recently, we’re all girls in the thesis room. So what’s happening is that around four o'clock, when most of us are done with everything, we’re onto interior-design. Which translates into moving desks around, re-arranging spaces, adding plants, tidying up. Flowers and greens are slowly taking over this place – and that’s great. It’s a way to make this space feel cosier.

After all, we spend most of our days here for several months… I guess we have the right to make it beautiful and fun, right?


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