I would venture to say that writing and defending a thesis is the defining moment for most graduate students. It is a process that takes up a lengthy part of the master’s program, countless hours of research, writing, editing and citations. Defending this dissertation is a key step in the path to graduating and can be a stressful time for students and professors. Today, I find myself standing at the base of this mountain… Poised to climb, excited, yet hesitant. Over the last few months I have been building up several different possible topics for my dissertation. Most of these focused on Chinese traditional wooden construction, or Chinese vernacular architecture, and cultural aspects of how people interact with built structures. Following the advice of one of my professors I also included a thesis topic that dealt with redefining spaces that would on the small spaces inside a shipping container and how that could become a larger living space. Sure enough, after a 30 minute presentation and a two hour discussion, I finally tied down a single theme which my advisor agreed was a plausible research topic. My thesis topic was approved and three professors, including my advisor) signed off on my proposal. For the next year I will be researching and writing a thesis about “Redefining and Transforming Interior Space Utilizing Shipping Containers “! The fact that I will be using my own designs as part of my research is an added bonus. I hope to be able to invite my professors to the SC Retreat House when the project is done, perhaps after I present my thesis!