Long Story Short

An illustration of a man's head on a foot, which are both on a pedastal
This contest is inspired by a couple of cheeky sources: the 2008 book Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure, and the 2013 Tumblr account turned Twitter feed “lol my thesis.” In both, people are invited to summarize lengthy, complicated things (i.e., their life or the project that’s taken over their life) in pithy, wry, even poignant ways.

Take this six-word memoir of Angela’s Ashes author Frank McCourt: “The miserable childhood leads to royalties.” Then there’s the Amherst geology major who wrote a thesis on local land formations. Their “lol my thesis” summary? “Rocks that are next to each other in Massachusetts now were also next to each other 400 million years ago.” An Amherst political science major did a thesis on party system institutionalization. Their truncation: “Never want to type ‘institutionalization’ again.”

So, think back on your toughest academic project from your senior year at Amherst, whether it’s a thesis, research paper, lab or performance—whatever academic bear you wrestled with most—and crunch it down to a one-sentence description. Along with your submission, please include the project’s original title (if you remember it). We know senior year may feel like a long time ago—but bring us up short.


Write a one-sentence summary of your toughest senior academic project—the shorter the better. Send it to magazine@amherst.edu or Amherst magazine, Box 5000, Amherst MA 01002. The magazine editors will choose a winning submission and two runners-up to publish in the next issue. The winner will also receive an Amherst T-shirt.

Illustration by Marc Rosenthal

Last Quarter’s Solution

A completed crossword whose solution is described in the accompanying text
The Spring 2023 crossword by Nam Jin Yoon ’12 contained two challenges. The first was to find four answers that are anagrams of one another. Those are:

Amherst, Mathers, The Rams and Hamster

From the correct entries, we randomly chose Kyra Naftel ’19 to win an Amherst T-shirt. The second challenge was to find the seven-letter adjective hiding in the grid, using the hint, “All my exes connected at the Amherst mixer.” That mystery word is Awkward.

From those who found it, we randomly selected Amherst parent Mark Feibes to win a College sweatshirt. Congratulations and thank you to all who entered!