Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Qualifying Exam Saga

The reason I haven't blogged lately (among other reasons that are more fun that I'll blog about later) is that I've been pretty preoccupied with my doctoral qualifying exam.  I call this post "The Qualifying Exam Saga" because it is a saga, as long as saga is defined as something that takes way too long and sucks out way too much of your energy.  There are also Buffy gifs, because of course there are.

I turned in the first draft of my written qualifying exam back in March.  The beginning of March.  That was a long time ago.  And then, two weeks later, the committee told me that I needed to rewrite the exam.  That was lame.  And many of my attempts to figure out what the problem was were unfruitful.

I finally got some feedback that was sort of helpful, and set out to write my second iteration.  And I wrote, and wrote, and wrote.  For months.  Without a deadline.

I finally got a deadline--May 29.  Ample time to write a new proposal about bunions.  Yes, bunions.  I was able to get really excited about it, although nobody else could really understand why.

I turned in my second go-around of the written.  It was beautiful.  There were charts, pictures, and tables of abbreviations!  Thankfully, I passed.  Time for some very moderate celebration at being one step closer to not getting kicked out of grad school.

Couldn't celebrate too much, though, because that was just half the battle.  The real scary part was the oral exam.  I had to give a 25-minute presentation about my proposal, after which I would be grilled for 45 minutes.  After lots of practicing in front of classmates, friends, my acting-coach boyfriend,* I was finally ready to do the real thing.

I got through the oral without tripping over any words or forgetting any slides!

The questions were not hard at all, which was kind of annoying because I had prepared for much harder questions (for instance, information on all the statistical methods, and the stats expert on the exam committee wasn't even there!).  So I ended up giving them anyway, just to let everyone that I had prepared and knew all of the things.

After answering all the questions, I went out of the room while they deliberated...and, as all of you know who already know me from Facebook, I passed!!!  I was lucky to be congratulated by so many of my friends.

And also, so happy to be done!

*Yes, I have a boyfriend now.  Like how I slid that in there?