“I want to congratulate you. So far, this is the best thesis I’ve seen.”
No one knows how happy—ecstatic even—Debbie and I were when those words came out his mouth after our thesis presentation.
The biggest irony that happened in our thesis days is when we had problems finding a panelist—the expenses only ranking as the second. We’ve tried contacting lots of other professors, but they’ve all turned down. The night before the defense day, I learned that Sir Dan was back from his vacation in Thailand, so I texted (and attempted to call) him immediately. He answered at around eleven thirty that night, and his answer? “Sorry. Too late notice.”
By some miracle we managed to convince him, though we have to reschedule our defense. We gave him our manuscript three hours before the defense.
“Malutong ‘to,” he told us as he was about to enter the room and sit as a panelist, referring to our bulky thesis. “Your study. I like it.”
That statement elicited a sigh from us. For the record, the first time I saw Debbie so nervous was a few minutes before the defense, and she smiled excitedly/tensely (I can’t really tell) at me when Sir Dan told us that. We always give each other a “come on we can do it” glances, and as far as I could tell it was a tad effective.
Sir Dan bombarded us with questions—even before we show our presentation. I never thought he knew so much about newspapers—from all the technical parts and elements of a broadsheet to the latest trends in the print industry. We tried to answer each query with the best of our knowledge. We even got into a mini-argument of some sort. The convo went along these lines:
Sir Dan: How about the headlines? Have you considered unconventional headlining?
Me: Not unconventional headlining sir, but we considered headline as a part of the overall makeup of the newspaper, hence contributing to visual appeal.
Sir Dan: So you’re saying headline is “visual”?
Me: As a pertinent factor to our study, yes, but we consider it as the newspaper element that lies between the visual and the content field. We are talking about visual journalism here, anyway. What I mean is, when you see the front page for the first time, it’s not just the photos or the graphics that catch your attention—you see the headline, too. It magnetizes your eyes, your attention, sir, because of its large, bold font. After your attention was arrested by the headline, you read it and you begin to focus on the content.
Sir: Ah, so you’re saying it contributes visually and content-wise?
Me: Yes, sir.
Sir: *smiles incomprehensibly*
Me: *smiles back sheepishly*
Sir: Okay, grade-an ko sarili ko ah.
All in all, it was a success: high pass. By the end of the day, everyone was celebrating—me, Debbie, Mamu, Row, Jedi, Elai. By the end of the day, we knew that all the fourth year journalism students will graduate, and that’s all that matters. We will march…together. :)
Thank you God.