Ok, so that wasn't so bad after all. Five days and 30 pages later, I'm still standing. At least until the oral exam, when my committee gets to tear into all my perceived weaknesses. Should be fun. Then I only have two years of research, a dissertation to write, and a final oral defense before I finish. I'm almost halfway there!
Wow, that's totally exciting and totally depressing all at the same time.
Posts have been scarce recently because my preliminary written exams are coming up this week. 5 days. 5 exams, one from each member of my dissertation committee. 40 mind-abusing hours racing the clock to answer questions meant to stump and humiliate test my knowledge of ecology.
And this is only the written component. The oral exam comes in two short weeks: an afternoon of me, a chalkboard, and my committee asking me whatever the feel like asking. There is no time limit. I have to stand there being peppered by questions until a) they get bored of me or b) I collapse into a twitching mass at the front of the classroom.
It's one part comprehensive academic assessment, one part rite of passage, and one part petty hazing ritual.
I get my first exam at 6am tomorrow. I won't know which committee member wrote it until I receive it. It could be on just about anything.
But at least it's only my entire professional future hanging in the balance.
These two photos were taken exactly one year apart:
Red is wasting away! Well, apart from the fantastic thunder thighs, that is. But what happened? One day he's cute and larval, with what appear to be triple-jointed elbows, and the next you can see his ribcage. Oh, and he's giving you some serious attitude because you took him down off the table where he was happily walking around.