Alternatives to Writing Your Thesis -The Toast

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Bake something. Do you know how to make a soufflé? Why not? Discuss, with reference to recent experience(s) both positive and negative.

Tidy your room. But tidy it properly, in a way that will ensure it remains tidy. To what extent does the messiness of your bedroom echo the disorganised state of your mind?

Throw out the majority of your possessions.

Take a YouTube yoga tutorial. Stand at the top of your mat, lift your arms, inhale, bring them down, exhale. Feel the weight of your thesis lifting as you raise your arms up, up, inhale, bring your arms down and step back into Downward Dog position, good, exhale, rock unsteadily on your outstretched limbs, tip forward, knock the laptop off the coffee table and onto the floor. Stay on the floor for a moment. Clutch your ankle. No, I don’t think it’s sprained, either. Maybe put some frozen peas on it? Log onto Twitter and ask for advice.

That one chapter would be a lot better if you included that obscure quote from Virginia Woolf that you don’t quite remember. Re-read all of Virginia Woolf’s diaries.

Have you called your mother recently? Now would be a good time to properly consider doing that, and then to also not do that.

Look at your sources. Look at your sources’ sources. How come you never managed to learn anything about Heidegger? Think about it. Could you pick Heidegger out of a lineup of, say, German philosopher Nazi sympathisers? Probably not. Also, you have never watched Schindler’s List.

Watch Schindler’s List.

Go for a walk, and as you walk, practise mindfulness. Observe the different shades of green in each of the leaves as you pass. What do you think constitutes genius?

Remember that you are being paid by the university to write on a topic entirely of your own choosing. Isn’t that a marvellous opportunity? Meditate on your privilege.

Have you ever considered becoming a florist? Follow this thought by researching different flower arrangement techniques.

Clean the entire bathroom. Even the grouting between the tiles in the shower. Even if you suspect that mould is the only thing gluing the tiles to the wall. Even if it is four o’clock in the morning. Remember that nothing is a metaphor.

Lie down for a minute. Just lie down.

Develop strong opinions about the history of Miley Cyrus’s career using Buzzfeed as your only source material.

Try to reconnect with your personal narrative voice. Write a diary entry. Re-read your old diary entries. What is it that you think connects all of your previous relationship failures?

Check Tumblr for inspiration. Do this for no less than seven hours.

Go for a long drive. Lean into the all-consuming terror that you will somehow accidentally die today. Does this make you feel a) relieved that you will never have to finish the first draft of your thesis, or b) petrified that the world will never know you were capable of much more than an elaborately organised system of Post-its linking your meditations on Lucy Lawless’s strongest roles?

How do you imagine hell? Is it possible that one circle of hell is reserved for failed academics who are forced to spend eternity tattooing the most trite sections of their thesis onto their own body parts? Is it? Read some Dante.

Eat a good, healthy meal. Brush your teeth. Spend forty-five minutes in the bathroom sculpting your hair into an elaborately braided up-do reminiscent of the post-apocalyptic heroine of your choosing.

Highlight relevant excerpts from notes taken throughout the entire course of your undergraduate career. Bonus round: take extreme liberties with what counts as ‘relevant’. What does marine biology have to say on the topic of, say, Chaucer? Visit an aquarium.

To what extent has your parents’ love for you always, in some small way, been conditional upon your academic achievements? Discuss, taking into consideration the events of the Epping North Primary School Macrame Crafternoon of 1995.

Cut your hair. Mourn your loss immediately. Spend one hour Googling ‘hair extensions’ and one hour Googling pictures of Emma Watson, respectively.


Lodge your most recent tax return, last year’s tax return, and all of those other tax returns you neglected. Keep going until you reach 2009, or until you start crying bile, whichever comes first.

Will excessive drinking unleash your creative energy? Who can say?

Give up on everything else and make plans to sell your own brand of hand-made crocheted merkins on Etsy.

Learn how to crochet.

Ren Arcamone lives in Sydney. She writes short stories and is strongly considering becoming a hat person.

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