June 19, 2011

Grad School Rite of Passage

I thought I'd mention that I may not be posting as much in the next month (or the posts will be mostly photos). I'm starting the comprehensive exam process for my PhD tomorrow. Eek!

While it differs by University, program, and committee, my comprehensive exams will take about a month to complete. Each of my four committee members will assign me a one-day written examination over the next two weeks. After I (hopefully) pass the written exams, I will have two weeks off to make my final preparations for my oral examination. During the oral exam, my committee members spend 2 to 4 hours grilling me on basically any topic they feel like I should be knowledgeable about. Since my committee members have diverse backgrounds, that means I could be asked almost anything! I've been studying regularly since late January, so hopefully I've prepared myself enough.

This is generally an pretty stressful process for the student. I'm hoping that in the next month I don't drive my boyfriend absolutely crazy, let the garden turn into a weed-infested jungle (although it partially already is), and gain 10 pounds from stress eating.


  1. Rite of passage... aka, hazing! I'm sure you'll do great.

  2. My advisor basically told me "Don't expect to feel good about yourself after the oral exam. Nobody ever does, and that's totally normal."

    Sounds great!


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