I have two versions of my Master’s thesis

Instagram @gradlifemcgill // photo by @na0mirlima

Instagram @gradlifemcgill // photo by @na0mirlima

Once upon a time, I was doing my Master’s degree about a Latin text found in a big volume written by a Jesuit in 1710. I did a translation from Latin to French and wrote about the author and how his text was presenting the Native Americans. After two years of work, I finally submitted my thesis and started to work in communication, waiting for the result.

One day, I received an email from one of the members of the committee. I was wrong. The text’s author was not an 18th-century Jesuit, it was a 17th-century unknown layman. Please make again half of your thesis.


The email was nice, but I was dying inside. How can that be? I thought for a moment to just put everything in garbage and forget about having a Master’s degree. Then I took two weeks off the job and started working on the text again. 18 hours a day for two weeks.

I read, I wrote, I took too much coffee and barely slept. But two weeks later, with the help of the member of the committee, I was submitting my thesis again.

Couple of weeks passed and I received another email. The other member of the committee told me that I was wrong. The text’s author was not a 17th-century unknown layman, it was an 18th-century Jesuit. Please make again half of your thesis. The first version was better, but still need adjustment.

At that point, I just really didn’t care who was right. My supervisor liked better the second version, so I submitted the latter as the final version. My master’s thesis was approved only by 2/3 of the jury.

From that event, I learned a few things:

– It is not always possible to make a consensus on some topics,

– It is OK to disagree with some of the scholarly texts,

– At some points, mental sanity is better than having the perfect thesis.

I tried later to figure out with a fresh mind who was the author. I did a paper on that… and I still don’t know. I hope to find the answer one day.

Did you have disagreement on your thesis committee?

Ps:.: I made mistakes? Please, help me improve!


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