Post-exam plans

I passed my qualifying exam!!!!

To be honest, it was pretty difficult & I didn’t walk away from it feeling good at all. Now that I’ve had a few days to process everything, I now know what I need to work on and where my weaknesses are. The exam was oral and lasted two hours. Going into it I felt pretty good, I have been studying for about a month, wrote a 10 page research proposal, and practiced my presentation with students from my program & with my fiance.

But then, well, I got a few questions I couldn’t answer. My nerves were definitely showing and I blanked on some very basic questions. It wasn’t my best performance, but I tried to grin and bear it and get through everything without freaking out in front of four professors and my mentor.

The nice thing is they tell you almost immediately if you’ve passed or not. They send you out of the room to discuss and then bring you back in to deliver your fate. The options are passing, re-doing the exam in 6 months if you aren’t prepared, or failing. If you fail you’re kicked out of the program & leave with a Master’s degree. Thankfully that didn’t happen to me, and I don’t have to take it again, but I seriously thought that both of those options were a possibility when I was waiting to find out if I had passed during those 15 minutes of pure torture. Once I went back into the room, they told me I had passed (yay!), a few things they liked about my project, and then a few other things that I really need to work on and the questions I should have known related to my field.

And then it was over and I was exhausted so I went home, laid in my bed to watch Netflix, ate a bagel with cheese and a boatload of dark chocolate, and then cried a little bit. I was disappointed in myself and my performance, and knew I could have done better. Luckily I have a very supportive fiance, who literally took the same exam 2 weeks ago so he knows what I went through, and was very reassuring that every single student who takes that exam doesn’t feel great about it. The point is that I passed, and after talking with a few more of my graduate student friends I regained my confidence & am going to be working on the topics I was told to study.

A few of the things I’m looking forward to now that I’ve gotten my life back are:

  • Wedding planning. Obviously this is a huge event that I need to get cracking on! So far we have the big things nailed down, and are going to the venue tomorrow to talk more about logistics and food. Hooray for food! I’ve also found a makeup artist and a guitar player for the ceremony, so those things are mostly checked off the list. We have a bunch of small things to do but now that I have free weekends and a more flexible work schedule, I can definitely get those done before the big day in August.
  • Eating healthy & regularly. My diet has been horrible the past month. Both of us (my fiance and I), have done a terrible job in the month of June in regards to spending money, eating healthy, and going to the gym
  • Losing a few vanity pounds and “toning up”. In the next month I plan on cooking mostly at home, staying away from fattening & highly sugared foods, and hitting the gym regularly so that I can feel great in my dress. I have a fitting next Wednesday and want to feel great a on the big day. Right now I’m happy with how I look, but of course I’d like to have more toned arms and an awesome booty to rock on my big day. So far my training has involved a little bit of cardio, followed my heavier weights and a focus on squats/lunges and arm/shoulder exercises. I’m also super pumped to enjoy the great Pacific Northwest and go on some awesome hikes. All of that being said, I’m definitely not going to deprive myself and go all bridezilla-diet over the next few weeks.

Summer time is finally here & now I can enjoy it! I’ll definitely be doing an update on finances as well, a lot of changes are going to be happening & I certainly need advice in all areas of newlywed financial planning.



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