Posts tagged ‘prelim’

May 28, 2010

Rite of Passage

I have a wise friend, mentor, and role model, KL. She’s a graduate student at Yale and is fantastic — she’s a fiber lover, was one of my first friends at college, and is my go-to person when my life (seems like it) is going to pieces.

Most recently, of course, this was about my prelim.

I took nearly two weeks off, simply to devote to studying. And before that, I was mostly working half days to study. I’ve eaten my weight in bagels, just so I can sit at my favorite big table at Einstein Bros. across the street and get a bunch done.

Of course, because it is me, I had many crises of confidence. One minute I was fine, the next I was absolutely positive I would fail the exam and be sent packing. I find my identity through my work — whether it is work in the lab or academics or working at a horse stables or spinning wool, I judge my worth based on the scores and praise and affirmation of others. I’m not saying it is a good thing (it isn’t) and I’m working on changing that part of myself, but it’s there.

KL gave me very sage advice, though. “This is a rite of passage. Rites of passage are designed to be scary going in, but when you’re done you get to say ‘that wasn’t so bad!'”

And she was right.
But only after it was completely done.

I got to the genetics library (where I took my prelim with the other genetics students) at 8:30 for the sole reason of turning on the lights that buzzed the least. (Aside: these are serious buzzing lights. High school gym type of buzzing. Maybe start to actually go insane kind of buzzing).

People trickled in, I sat and studied. The test was handed out at 9:30. Half a bagel, a cup of coffee, a liter of water later (thank goodness for nalgenes), and SIX HOURS later, I left barely able to form complete sentences.

You read that correctly. Six hours. The test was so thick they couldn’t staple it. The last person to leave took 7 and a half hours. It was a serious test.

This morning, though, this was in my inbox:

Dear MGG First Years,

Congratulations, everyone passed the written prelim exam (and with room to

Thank goodness!!!

So what that means is I passed.
KL was right — now I can look back and say “it wasn’t so bad!” Well, maybe tomorrow I can say that.

In the meantime, I’m taking a break from science and from school for awhile.

But boy am I glad I passed! 🙂

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May 23, 2010

Channeling fun times in Syme.

Yesterday, after an hour at the gym and several hours studying on my own and with other first-years in my program for the prelim, I went out with a friend, JB, on a quest to find her some “strappy sandle-y black nicer than flip-flops sandals.” 1 trip to PayLess, 1 to WalMart, and a trip to two different Targets and we have her shoes. I was really hoping to get a pair like them in orange (because who doesn’t need orange flats??), they didn’t have my size. Something to look for.

My big purchase (apart from kitty litter for Patty), was a new box fan. Somehow, none of my fans from Syme managed to make the trip to St. Louis, mostly because my mum has comandeered the smaller ones, and the bigger ones I ended up using for my horses, and, well, that’s just never a good idea to bring back into the house.

But now I am the proud owner of a Galaxy box fan.

Poor Patty can’t decide if she likes it or not. She’s upset that she can’t look out that window any more, but when she finishes fussing about that, she lies on her back in front of the fan enjoying the breeze.
She looks pretty comfy, doesn’t she?

It has made a world of difference in my room. With the jump from mid-50s to 60s weather all the way up to upper-70s to 90s weather, I think it was a good time to get it.

And now to study in my nice, breezy room!

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May 22, 2010

body fibers

Today is The Saturday Before the Prelim. Last Saturday, I was doing other things other than studying thinking “I’ve got about two weeks to study! I can learn anything in that time!” Well, one week is already gone. I’ve only got the ‘about’ left.

With all this studying means a lot of sitting in non-ergonomic positions at the library, coffee shops, my desk, you name it, balancing papers, old prelims, a year’s worth of notes and exams, and my computer, leaning over and under and sideways, pivoting without moving my bum, generally not being nice to my body.

Add that to eating poorly at all hours (which stems from not having much food that I want to eat and not enough time or patience to cook the food I want or go get easier food), not sleeping well, and next to no exercise. Plus the mind games of “what if I don’t pass?” and guilt when I’m NOT studying and low spirits to high spirits depending on what I know when.

My poor body is rebelling. Today I can barely sit up straight for the muscle stiffness in my back and neck. I’ve been wearing my glasses for days because my eyes refuse to deal with contacts. My bad knee is even starting to ache again.

So what’s a girl to do?

Start taking care of her body, that’s what.

For starters, I’m taking the morning off of studying. I studied hard all day yesterday and am meeting up with other MGG first-years to study this afternoon, and I want to be fresh for it.

I’m going to try really really hard to get to the gym every day this week. (Except Thursday, I’m not quite THAT optimistic.) And I’m going to try to take it easy in there, but I need to get my body moving again.

I used to be quite fit, and, when I was, I felt better, I could do more, and I was happier. But this week, I’m just going to get moving. When I get back from my various adventures in the next few weeks, I’m going to dig out my work-out schedule when I was getting ready for the wilderness trip — I do much better when I have a plan.

Plus, exercise has been found to have positive psychological benefits — that’s right, it means it’ll make me less stressed out, better centered, allow me to channel my Caldwellian spirit. AND studies have shown that studying while exercising doesn’t have the same benefits as the same exercise without. Which also means I’ll have to take a break and let my mind relax.

So here’s to keeping sane and getting back on speaking terms with my body!

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