The Much Dreaded Ph.D. Qualifiers

Posted by Nicole Sharp on 18 May 2007 at 17:15

You know, when I graduated on May 21 last year, I really didn't think at the time about the likelihood that I would be taking my Ph.D. qualifiers a year later, but that's what's happening. Next Monday, I'll be given a problem to prepare, and on Tuesday morning I get to stand in front of three professors and try to demonstrate five years worth of knowledge about fluid mechanics in one hour.

To say that I'm nervous or worried or stressed really doesn't express it. I rushed through the finals for my classes so that I could spend this week focusing on studying, but it feels like I get burned out on studying awfully quickly these days. At this point, my labmate and I have spent hours quizzing each other and working through longer and more complicated problems than we think we'd be handed on the spot; we got quizzed by older grad students; we've reviewed years worth of notes. I think I'm at the point now where I just want it over with. Reviewing is not going to do any more for me--all I can do now is try to keep my wits about me and stay calm.

...and make sure that I can derive Bernoulli's equation with my eyes closed...

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