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June Happenings

The moment I had been dreading for months has come and gone, and I’m still here. It’s funny how it usually works out that way. I know this too…and I try to use that to make the freak out attenuate, with often minimal results.

So, June 13 was my qualifying exam, or comprehensive exam, or comps, or quals…whatever name you call it, just as ‘fun.’ The basic premise is that a week before the ‘exam’ I get a few questions that I have to spend a week preparing answers to. Then on the actual day I give the answers orally to 4-5 faculty members (my committee!) and they ask me lots of follow up questions trying to shake me. The idea is to see if you’re “capable of independent research.” Honestly, it feels more like a hazing ritual, with faculty trying to put you in your place. At least, that’s kind of how I thought it would go down.

That week, I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard in my life. We’re talking like 12-15 hour days for 7 days straight. That’s something I never thought I would have the mental discipline to do. But, I learned fear is a surprisingly good motivator :). I rocked my little nook in the libary.

My exam went better than my wildest dreams. I felt really good about how I did, and I passed with no real critiques. I think God totally just took over once I entered that room. I was so nervous I thought I was going to pass out or vomit…or some disgusting mixture of the two. But, as soon as I entered the room, it all just went away and I did my thang. And yeah, it went so well. I can’t believe it. But I feel good. The thing I was most worried about was letting my advisor down, and I think he was proud of my ‘performance.’ : )

My desk after the test. My labmate and roommate were sweet 🙂

A surprising thing was how long it took me to get over that week. I think I was running on adrenaline and shotty sleep, and once a day had passed, and the hormones went away, I felt like a zombie. And it took a while for me to be able to sleep in and recover. But I think I’m finally there. I just had to summon the energy to kick my ass in the gym until I passed out :P.

But there you go, I’m a Ph.D. Candidate officially now. Holla?!

My first photo as an official Ph.D. candidate. This is the face of a girl who after 20 years is done with classes for ever!

The beginning of the stress relief/celebration process!

Now a new journey of getting lots of research done that will make a thesis for me begins!

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6 Responses

  1. Yay, congrats!

    Our quals are also 4-5 questions per exam, but they’re written and then we have to defend them. And there are 4 exams. But we have a lot of time to prepare. Pretty sure they were designed for torture.

  2. Congrats!!!

  3. Congrats!

    So I can call you Doctor-to-be?

  4. congrats!! I am new to cville and just found your blog. It’s exciting to me because I am also a biomedical engineer! I was in a PhD program but ended up just getting my masters -so kudos to you for making it so far!! Passing your quals is a HUGE accomplishment! 🙂

    • Yay! Thanks for the comment. It’s cool to meet another BME in the area, especially one with a real job! Can’t wait to check out your blog.

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