“… that makes me forget every moment that went by that left me so half-hearted ’cause I felt is so half-assed.” (Ani DiFranco’s “Half-Assed”, from her 2006 Reprieve album.)
I was fortunate enough to experience such a moment this morning, near the end of yet another grueling thesis meeting, which I showed up to with the usual pit of fear and terror in my stomach. I cannot express how both utterly draining and gratifying it is, having a professor you not only incredibly respect, but consider a good friend, go over your work, line by line by line, and not let you get away with anything. All those papers you wrote in the past, with the lazy throwaway sentences where you didn’t exactly know what you were trying to say, but figured it sounded intelligent? You will get called on that, each and every single time. Nothing is allowed to slip; everything is up for scrutiny and criticism and questioning. “What did you mean by this? This sentence isn’t clear. This word isn’t well-chosen. What are you trying to argue? This isn’t well-written. This doesn’t make sense.”
However, at the end of the hour and a half-long session, one that focused solely on the 10-pg introduction, he stands up and brushes his hands against his pants and murmurs in a wondrous tone of voice, “Si, nos va a quedar muy lindo esto.”
And suddenly it all seems worth it and you feel like you’re on top of the world again and as heart-breaking and soul-crushing and esteem-squishing and weepy state-inducing as the entire thesis writing process is, you can suddenly see the light at the end of the tunnel, because your adviser consents that your work is going to “quedar muy lindo.” And you kind of understand what he meant during your conversation about the kid who died last night, in which he said that the only true pleasure from life is not from the exhibitionist escapism of drugs and politics and media, but the kind that results from the well-earned satisfaction that only comes from the knowledge of a job genuinely well done.