Last night we celebrated!
D made a wonderful meal - peanut-butter sesame noodles with carrots and scallions. We had a bottle of wine - Chamarre' Grand Reserve Pinot Noir 2006. D bought flowers. And we had two desserts - 1. goats milk gouda cheese, strawberries, and dark chocolate; and 2. peanut-butter cup ice-cream.
Our reason for celebrating: I passed my comprehensive exams!
I took my exams the week of January 12th. And they were HARD. The first day was a four hour closed book test. Only six questions, but each had a dozen or so sub-questions. It was so hard, and I ran out of time. The second day was an "open note" test that focused on designing an epidemiological study and critiquing a published paper. The literature critique wasn't that bad; just time consuming. The study design part of the exam was not what I expected. It focused more on data analysis for different types of studies and less of the actual steps of putting a study together. The third/fourth day of the exam was a 27 hour data analysis exercise. We received our data set and instructions at 9am on Wednesday and I proceeded to work nonstop (minus the drive home from school) for the next 27 hours. It was hard work and required a lot of concentration and focus. My final analysis was a 15 page document with six tables and two charts. All in all the test was A LOT of work.
I didn't expect to find out if I passed or not until later in February. I knew the committee of professors that designed the exams were meeting yesterday, but I (along with the rest of the students who took the test with me) assumed they were meeting to set up a grading structure and schedule. Instead, within an hour of their meeting being over, I received an email from the committee chair congratulating me on passing.
It was the BEST email ever.
So I passed. Now I have to finish up my remaining coursework, determine a dissertation topic, put together a proposal, pass my oral proposal defense, complete my dissertation research, publish two papers, and defend my final project. After all of that, I'll have my PhD.
A lot remains to be done. But for this moment, I am celebrating!