PhD Comprehensive Exams

Sunday, 11 August 2013
The culmination of the PhD student experience has to do with comprehensive exams. I will have to answer four philosophical questions over two weeks and for each question (core, method, theory and college question) I will go into a room with a computer that only has word processing and write for four hours. While I don't know what the questions will be, I have ideas from my professors and that has helped with the studying. I am very nervous.

I have studied for "comps" during the entire summer but throughout the last three weeks I've heavily concentrated on resources and formulating arguments. This week's AEJMC academic conference in Washington D.C. came at a terrible time because I was only able to study for about two hours each day. Did I mention tests make me nervous?

Thankfully, I have an amazing team of scholars to work with on this (Dr. Violanti, Dr. Button, Dr. Gross and Dr. Martinez). All are former journalists except for Dr. Violanti but she may as well be one - her editing skills are the best I've ever experienced. She also understands news.

My friend and colleague Iveta put my mind at ease a little bit by reminding me of the oral exams. Those come about two weeks after written comps where students have a chance to defend answers and also provide additional information for an answer.

I just wish I had more time to study. If I had six more months, however, I'd wish for six more... There is just so much to learn and retain and even after a total of 8 years of education, I feel like I've only skimmed the tip of the iceberg of knowledge. I wish I closely understood more theories. I wish I had more time to use different methods.

Sometimes, though, we have to cut ourselves some slack. Now when I read articles about scientific research, I understand them! I remember a time when my eyes would almost cross reading about reliability, validity and objectivity in Science. I at least have some confidence in this area but I have 10 days to start positive self talk and envision success in this venture. I know I can do it and I know I have the tools to ace exams. I just need to believe it. Thanks for any prayers, good vibes, energy, positive thoughts that you can send my way. I owe you. xo

1 comment

LizP said...

Sending positive thoughts from the hippie capital of the world! ;-)