One of my favorite shots of the Baptistry in Pisa. c. 2008.
It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted. I apologize for that. Life has gotten in the way, and downtime has been filled with copious amounts of brainless activity, which include Netflix binging or drama binging. I like to think that reading subtitles forces me to do a bit more brain activity than wanted.
Now for the explanation of the title. I recently took these Comprehensive/Diagnostic Exams as a first year PhD student, and they went terribly. Terrible is an understatement of how I felt coming out of the exams. Let me explain the format of the exams.
- We, second year MA and first year PhD students, were told that we would have these Comprehensive/Diagnostic Exams on Monday, April 13, 2015. We were all assigned a time slot, with everyone being allotted an hour each.
- We were sent problem sets in three different subfields on Monday, April 6, 2015. This meant we were given a week to work out these problems. The MA students got to pick their subfields, but the PhD students were assigned the following: Phonology, Syntax, and Semantics.
- We were told to prepare a one sheet handout; 2 page-up and front and back could be used. We were to present the solution to the problem in front of a panel of three professors, each a specialist in each of the subfields, and each professor could ask us any question about the solution. We were told that it would be 10 minutes for presentation and 10 minutes for Q&A for each of the problem sets/subfields.
- When the day came, we were told otherwise. We were told that it would be a 20 minute discussion instead, with the professors be able to stop us at any point and direct us to different parts of the solution.
- We wait for the results.
I had been preparing for these exams for a good 5-7 days. I contemplated not coming to my oldest friend’s wedding because of the amount of stress and pressure I was under. I re-did my analysis so many times, I’m not even sure of the exact amount. I had to learn about new topics because some of the questions covered topics that weren’t even covered in class. I had an idea of what to expect coming in, but I was not prepared for what actually happened.
I was slaughtered, ambushed, attacked, and whichever violent verb you can possibly think of.
I stayed as composed as possible, but I definitely began crying once I left the room.
Thoughts and insecurities started chasing each other. Had I prepared enough? Did I spend enough time? Should I have gone to that wedding? Should I have NOT tried to sleep at all? What did I do wrong? Am I just simply not clever, creative, smart enough for any of this? Am I really not understanding any of the topics we’ve discussed in class? What is wrong with me? Why can’t I speak eloquently? You get the gist of it.
I’ve finally come to terms that I really did try my best. I prepared as much as I could with the 1 week that was given. As much as I prepared, nothing could have changed what went on in that room. Now I’m just waiting for the results. If I didn’t do well, then I’ll have to start over again, and that’s okay with me. I’ve been this patient, what’s another do-over going to do to me anyway?
On a much happier note: THE WEATHER IS AMAZING TODAY! Today’s weather reminds me of how the weather was in the picture. It was a relaxing and slow day. I really long for those days.