My incompletes were resolved in December. I started shaping my reading list immediately. Now I have a tentative exam date: April 25. The oral exam will follow on May 12. Four of five committee members have confirmed. Here's hoping for the fifth.
Although my reading list is still in formation, I have been diligently reading for several weeks now. My Mondays and Fridays are completely clear and completely dedicated to reading and notetaking. I didn't think I would really enjoy this preparation, but to my surprise, it's really satisfying. It stands to reason: I've selected the texts and shaped the purpose behind reading them. It is far more gratifying than reading for seminars. I found myself—week after week—just plowing through books for the sake of completion. I didn't establish an objective or purpose for reading. The process was arduous.
Now that I think of it, I bet my students (who may be reading this) feel the same way. They are assigned readings that come seemingly out of left field. What are they reading for? For some vague class discussion, the direction of which is unknown prior to the moment it takes place? That's hardly motivating. Once again my experiences as a student help to inform my decisions as a teacher. I need to give more direction and purpose for my students' reading.
Here's to impending candidacy—and improved pedagogy.