- Monday: read all questions, outline each question, gather resources
- Tuesday: complete draft of question #1
- Wednesday: complete draft of question #2
- Thursday: complete draft of question #3
- Friday: complete draft of question #4
- Saturday: formatting & citations
- Sunday: edit each question, final loose ends
- Monday: turn it all in, sleep, celebrate
Ha. The best-laid plans of delusional doctoral students… You see, when you hear for months, years even, that the doctoral qualifying exams are these huge immense scary things full of multiple parts within each part, you think, “Sure, but see I’m prepared. I know what I’m going into.” And you’re so very wrong.
I’m at once more freaked out and worried and overall less paranoid than I anticipated. Parts of the process have been–yes, I fully admit I’m a nerd–downright enjoyable. Heck, this is all about a topic I love, after all!
BUT. It’s not really four questions, it’s more like twelve. Twelve individual essays / research papers in which I must fully consider the complete question, provide the seminal literature on each, and then add my well-reasoned (ha!) personal opinion. And the kicker is that I have only seven days to do this in. When even insane grad students typically spend at minimum a week on one well-reasoned paper.
So, the Plan of Attack has become the Plan That Looks Good But Ultimately Is Impractical. I fully anticipate that I’ll be replacing Saturday and Sunday’s planned revisions and formatting with fevered attempts to complete even the first pass at the last portion of a few of these questions (like the nine-part administrative question, the first five parts of which were CAKE and the last four that will be inscribed on my tombstone as having KILLED me). But don’t mistake this for defeat–I’ll make it through this, clinging to my last thread of sanity with a mad gleam in my eye. I will come out bloody but alive.
See you on the other side, my lovelies!