Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

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Last post, I alluded to some wandering I did while my aunt was visiting Austin. We happened across a beautiful October day and spent it at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Chateau d’Austin

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Not my house.

Back in October, my aunt came to visit our new place in Austin. She will forever go down in history as the first person to sign my guest book.

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Texas Stars Hockey

Recently I got a coupon with my grocery receipt which was good for two free tickets to go to a Texas Stars hockey game at the Cedar Park Arena. It was impressively serendipitous considering a conversation I’d had with some friends a few days before about going to see a game this hockey season. Needless to say, later that week we found ourselves in line in the rain waiting to redeem our tickets.

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Formula One

circuit-of-the-americasIn getting back to real life, I’m back to the usual grind with school and research. That means having time for fun things again! So when the opportunity presented itself, I went to see the practice runs at the Circuit of the Americas, Austin’s Formula One track.

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Qualified.

I’m returning to the blogging world as a fully qualified PhD student. Over the last few months I drafted my research proposal and passed my qualifying exam!

The exam consisted of an oral presentation of my proposed research followed by a few hours of questions from my 5-person examining committee.

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I’m not an EE (electrical engineer), but this comic is a good representation of what I thought the experience might be like before entering the room. I think in some ways the fear of disaster is encouraged in a PhD student to induce extra studying. I know that worked for me.

The exam ended up being nothing nearly so traumatizing. Of course there were things I didn’t know, but the idea of the exam is to test the limits of your knowledge and abilities, so the exam isn’t really over until the committee finds those things you don’t know.

Now that I’m qualified, there’s a mere dissertation defense standing between me and graduation…and I suppose writing the dissertation is in there somewhere, too.

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