The Beat Goes On

23 02 2010

Well, not much has changed on the job front since my last post so I won’t bore you all with that right now.

Today, I was just thinking about the Ph.D. process and how it differs between science fields and between universities. My Ph.D. process has been rather disjointed at times. It seems that the profs in my department never really seem to know what needs to be done and when.  When I first started, I would ask someone, “Do I need to take class x or class y?” I would usually get an answer that was either, “Well, we don’t offer that class anymore,” or “I’m not sure, go ask prof x.”  It was very frustrating.  I somehow managed to survive my coursework.  Although, I think I took entirely too many courses, and some that don’t even have anything to do with my field! During this time, you would form your committee.  That was not bad since my boss pretty much told me who I should have on it.  So, after I finished the majority of my course work (usually after about 2.5-3 years), I took my qualifying exams. 

This process seemed to change every year. When I started, you could take them whenever you wanted, you just had to make sure everyone in your committee was on board. However, when it came time for me to take my exams they said that they could only be taken during x, y, or z months! So I waited for x month to come around and I got my committee together and they agreed that I could take my exams.  My exams consisted of 1 written exam per day for 5 days (1 from each of my committee members).  After you have taken all of your written exams, you had to get your committee together again, and have an oral exam.  This was where your committee got to ask you a bunch of random questions…it was insanely nerve racking for me because I tend to get very nervous around my committee for some reason!  However, I managed to survive! I then had my committee sign some forms, and I officially became a Ph.D. Candidate!

So here I am in my 5th year.  I’m in the process of writing my dissertation, applying for jobs, finishing up some lab work, and praying that I can get it all done and land a job ASAP.  I will then have a whole new set of things to worry about!

How was your Ph.D. process?  Any tips on how to get and stay focused enough to write on your dissertation for any appreciable amount of time? 

Have a great Tuesday!