Thesis project provides portfolio piece and imposter syndrome

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By Lyba Mansoor

After months of head-scratching nights filled with trips to the ER for panic attacks and consuming waaaayyy more than the recommended amount of Red Bull, Yousuf Aziz, fourth-year English student, finally finished his thesis project. Despite the success, he’s left with a semi-decent portfolio piece and awful imposter syndrome. 

Aziz recently completed his independent thesis project: a whopping 38,000-page dissertation titled “Talking to your plants: Does it actually help them grow faster or are you just starved for face-to-face interaction?” 

“I worked on the project for weeks. It should’ve been one of my greatest accomplishments, but halfway through, I still didn’t feel like it was good enough. I felt like a fraud,” he said. 

Aziz’s mother, who cut up fruit and brought it to his room throughout the writing process, confirms that Aziz didn’t leave his room for nearly a month at one point.

“His father and I were very worried,” she said. “A strange smell started emitting from his room. We realized it was because he had stopped showering. We could hear heavy sobbing at odd hours of the night too. It was all deeply disturbing.”

Despite his commitment, Aziz was disappointed when he got his professor to look over his work. 

“She didn’t say much. She told me I had done a ‘good job.’ I just knew that everyone else had written better dissertations. I mean ‘GOOD’? She might as well have spat in my face,” he said. 

Aziz, a straight-A student, said he was absolutely positive that his professor and his classmates finally realized he was a giant fucking idiot. 

“I don’t know how I made it through the program all these years. Sheer luck? Those good grades must have been a coincidence. I’m an idiot, and after looking at my thesis project, everyone’s going to know it,” he said. 

Jojo Kuji, Aziz’s longtime friend and fellow English student, helped edit the paper.

“He made me edit it like five times, even after it looked great. Every time I’d open the Google doc I’d see his name floating there. I think he kept that page open all day.”

Kujo said Aziz would ask him to edit drafts one moment and then immediately tell him, “Wait no it sounds horrible—I need to fix it.” 

“All he’d do was add a period or take out an oxford comma, and then send it back to be edited. Once, while I was editing it in person, he was watching me. His palms got so sweaty from the nerves of me reading it, we had to go buy him a towel.”

Following his thesis submission, Aziz revoked his grad school application and dedicated his life to becoming a mediocre lemon farmer. 

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