Friday, January 30, 2009


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!


Anonymous said...

Congratulations! That is huge news. I know the feeling of relief in having one more big hurdle behind you. That's how I looked at grad school: A bunch of hurdles to tackle one at a time. Enjoy the weekend!


Carla said...

congrats beck...i can't imagine the relief that you are feeling right now! that is awesome. now you can focus on cheering on the steelers tomorrow!

Ruthie said...

Congrats, Becky. What an exciting year it has been for you!

Of course, I must confess that when I first read the title of your post on Jill's blogroll, I had assumed the post was about the Super Bowl. Teehee. :-)