February 28, 2005
It seems that I have already gotten the all-important letter in the mail saying that I passed my written prelim exams! Somehow, it seems a little disappointing to get the letter already. I mean, I worked how long on that thing, and it only took them two weeks to read it and get back to me?
Okay, I'm not complaining...really, I'm not. I'm already moving on to think of the lovely next step--the oral exams. In my department, we write our potential literature review for the dissertation for the orals. I feel like I already have that part of the way done, but the key right now is to make sure my topic is really feasible. I'm meeting with my advisor tomorrow, so I'll be sure to post an update soon.
February 8, 2005
Written Prelim Nirvana
Yesterday, at approximately 2:15, I turned in my written preliminary exam to my department's DGS. I had no IDEA how exhilirating the feeling of accomplishment would truly be! It's done! It's over! It's the end of having to write a paper that has been designed exclusively to please someone else!
A friend of mine told me that after I turned the paper in, I would feel a combination of giddiness and exhaustion. To be honest, I didn't agree at the time. I was still feeling a little resentful of the whole process--after all, we had to write a 30 page paper that coherently addressed seven broad topics taken from our coursework. It's not a pretty paper: as my partner-in-academe says, "It's not the paper we would have written; it's the paper we had to write." So, there it is. Done. Turned in. And, yes, waves of giddiness and exhaustion.
We went out to celebrate last night. We figured that rather than drinks alone somewhere, we'd take J (our 3 1/2 year old) with us to somewhere he likes. After all, he's been stuck in this process with us. Not only has he decided that he wants to learn another language so our papers will be about him, but he watched the Aristocats movie at least a dozen times this weekend while we were glued to our laptops. Anyway, we went to the Good Earth, where J will eat a little of the cheese pizza along with some fruit and bread. It's his favorite restaurant, I think. We were there later in the evening, and it wasn't so busy. We told our server that we were celebrating our prelims, and she gave us free dessert! It was a really nice way to wind down from the whole process. We got home and crashed into an exhausted heap.
Now, to just pick up the momentum and get the orals done soon....
February 6, 2005
Written Prelim Hell, Part II
Just a temporary writing break to say that while it's mostly coming together, it's still a frustrated effort! Will I be glad when this is done!!
In the meantime, there's so many loose ends in writing one 30-page paper that somehow, magically, ties in ALL of the coursework I've taken in the last two years! I have over 50 citations. I didn't know THAT was possible!
Tomorrow at this time, I'll have long-since turned in this bizarre tome, and I'll be vegging out in front of the tv. I hope something good will be on.
February 1, 2005
At this point next week, I will...
(a) be celebrating the fact that I turned in my prelim
(b) have lapsed into a semi-permanent vegetative state
(c) will wonder how my house got so incredibly messy?
(d) all of the above
Today is yet another day for panic. I have been sick with some nasty bug for the last week or so, and it's really draining my energy. That leads me to think, why didn't I do more writing on this paper over the break? I certainly could have. In fact, I DID do a lot of reading related to my paper, but reading is certainly an excuse for avoiding the harder tast of actually accomplishing something. Then I think, why didn't I do more in my coursework to prepare for this paper?! I SHOULD HAVE written each paper in preparation for the prelim! In my policy class, I should have done my policy paper on the same topic! In my formal orgs class--the same! Duh, right?
I can give some sugarcoated answer here about how life is a all a process, and I probably learned more by doing a different topic and maybe back then my thinking wouldn't have been so nuanced, etc. Blah blah blah. And, as I've said previously, I'll probably be glad I did this paper when I get to the other side of the process, but in the meantime. . . .
I think about how much initiation there is in this profession, and I wonder. Will I remember what this feels like when I'm the one answering student emails about the wording of the introductory sentence at 11:53pm the week before the exam is due?