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.

quals

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.