Friday, September 15, 2006
"There are no answers to these questions"
It's funny how everything seems so much nicer after putting a 15 hour test behind you. The sky was pretty this morning as I drove to turn in my exam (at 7:00 am). My scone and iced tea are an even nicer treat. I don't look at all other people as enemies. The house music at the coffee shop isn't annoying. I actually wanted to get out of bed this morning.I finished the written part of the qualifying exam last night around 11:30. I started at 7:30 am and after subtracting about an hour for lunch and dinner breaks, it probably took me around fifteen hours to finish (and by finish I mean get to a point where additional time spent would not improved the outcome). It was only supposed to be an 8 hr test but I had some problems with a computer program I had to write that took a ridiculous amount of time to try to fix. One of my committee members told me to only spend 2.5 hours on his section, so that one wasn't that long at least. I don't remember much of the experience clearly right now. The first question was something like "Using as many words as possible, limited only by the memory on your computer, write an extensive history of science starting with Galileo. Pay particular attention to every field of science that has ever existed." I know that it was dark when I arrived and when I left. I know that I consumed enough refined sugar to put a family of four into a diabetic coma. I temporarilly suspended my caffeiene regulation and had TWO glasses of iced tea. Ooh, decadent! The second one, at dinner time, was the ONLY reason I was able to finish. Before that I was almost totally incoherent. I sort of remember staring at my computer screen totally unable to make my thoughts organize themselves into something understandable. Fortunately at 8:00 Ryan called and said I HAD to eat dinner and asked what I wanted. He brought me a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich and a big glass of iced tea. After he hung up and went to go get my dinner I thought "That's nice of him, but I'm FINE" then went to the bathroom and had a shaking, swearing, crying fit because I couldn't get my computer program working after fiddling with it for more than three hours. I never did get it totally fixed. I wrote a half-hearted appology and turned in what I had. The instructions for one section read "There are no answers to these questions." What the heck does that mean? I really didn't think I was capable of working as hard or steadily as I did yesterday. I certainly couldn't have done it without Ryan, who brought me lunch and dinner and provided a regular supply of back rubs and encouragement and even brought me a choice of heating pads.I IMed my advisor this morning to tell him "thanks for the butt-kicking" and he replied "just wait for the oral". Very nice. Oh well, today is my day off and I don't want to think about it. My friend S is making me cookies tonight and we are going to watch Gilmore Girls or Sex in the City and not think about school and it's going to be great.NOTE: After rereading this entry I noticed a number of typos and other errors. Know that I've come a long way from being extremely confused by the orange construction barrels on the road on the way home last night.