A message for anyone finishing this thesis

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OK, that’s the end!

Sort of. If this were a book, this would be the end. But this is a website, and websites can change over time. So this is just the end for now.

As I’ve mentioned at least once, I’m writing this right before my time as a student is up. To be specific, it’s currently April 22, 2024, and in just over a month I will have my diploma. I will also be turning in my thesis — this thesis — and in a way that means it’s finished. Kaput.

But that doesn’t mean it’s done, or that I’m done. In fact, I’m not really leaving this program. I’ve fallen in love with this city — Providence, Rhode Island — and I’m sticking around. I’m even teaching in the fall. So really, all that’s changing is that I’m stepping out of one circle — the students — and into another — the faculty. Once that happens, I’ll learn new things — new lessons — which will lead to new stories. At the same time, I will attempt to start my own studio, which will lead to a whole assortment of new projects. And throughout all of these changes, my community of teachers, peers, and students will continue to grow, so more conversations will be had. Altogether, this means that this thesis will stay in motion indefinitely.

I think that’s also nice, because fixed objects tend to get lost in time. As I’ve watched the Internet grow, I’ve watched so many valuable things get lost in the past as new and shiny things emerged. It’s hard to keep track of resources when everything changes so quickly and often. I’ll do what I can to keep this one thing — this thesis — visible.

But I can’t promise it’ll always look this way. And I can’t even promise it’ll always be here. That’s probably the greatest downside of a website’s ability to change. A book may degrade or whither, but can’t fully vanish without a great deal of effort. Websites, meanwhile, are fickle things. Web standards change. Web browsers change. It may be that in five years, my website no longer functions as intended. As its custodian, it’s on me to maintain it for you.

I do have a solution for that, but it needs some help from you. If you want to lock this website in place — in a moment in time — then you can print it. That book will stay with you as you originally experienced it. In five, ten, fifteen years, you can rely on that book still being there as it originally was. If that’s what you want, then I can lend you a hand. You can generate a print-ready PDF of this website’s contents here:

I’ll be the first to lock things in place. Remember that it’s April 22, 2024? In a couple of weeks, I’ll generate a print-ready PDF of this website’s contents and print several copies. And shortly after that, I’ll submit that PDF as my thesis. If all else fails, there’s at least that record of this one moment in time — the framework of something that might someday exist.

So, that’s it. If this is truly the end — the last thing you read — then by now I have nothing else of value to share.

It was nice meeting you! As I tell my students:

Good luck! Have fun!

Sincerely, Gabriel