As the month of September came to an end, so did Cristina’s preparation time for the written exams on her Ph.D. in Communications.
The written exams were scheduled for Friday, October 3 from 10am to 12pm and from 1pm to 3pm. When I took my comprehensive in January and February of last year, I had to study for seven different sections within my program. I passed five and failed two. Therefore, I was only studying for the two sections I failed.
I talked to my professors on Tuesday, September 29 (which also happened to be my birthday) and they gave me a proverbial kick in the pants to get me motivated in the right direction during my final days of study.
Somehow, I managed to get everything that I had crammed into my head, during my study hours, down on paper. Two weeks after my written exams, I had an oral examination scheduled. I was to get a conference call on Friday, October 16 at 2:30pm.
I was so nervous that day. I had already begun to start planning for my options if I did fail this exam. When my professor called 15 minutes late, I had already told my proctor that he should go do something else and I would call him when the examination began. So, I asked my professor to wait a second for me to get my proctor.
“Oh, you don’t need your proctor,” my professor told me.
“What? Why don’t I need my proctor.”
“Because you passed.”
I almost passed OUT right then and there.
“Really? Are you just teasing me or are you being real?”
He was serious. He told me that my written exams were so much better than last semester that he really didn’t need to ask me anything else.
However, my other two teachers wanted to ask me some questions, so they tortured me for the next 20 minutes before they agreed that I had passed my qualifying exams and I could now officially begin writing my dissertation.
This has been a huge milestone for me. I know I still have a lot of work ahead of me (especially if I want to graduate in May of 2010), but I’m so glad that I overcame this hurdle. I am looking forward to working with my advisor on my dissertation topic of studying the ‘third-culture’ kid of the 21st century.