the sometimes senseless ravings (and the occassional rant) of an aspiring marine ecologist who may enjoy killing things a little too much

Monday, April 25, 2005


avoiding things...that's what i'm doing now. it is not a pretty day. it's cloudy and sprinkly but it won't just rain already. it's the sort of day for curling up with a good book or maybe taking a nap. not a good day for homework. and it's just one problem, right? no harm in just doing it tomorrow. i had a little chat with charlie today, and he made me feel that i really need to talk to dr. v....about my plans for the summer, about deferring my stipend while i TA, about plans for my project, about his TA situation for marine ecology, about funding for my preliminary research. i need to make a list of questions and corner him one day soon.

anyway, my final geological oceanography class was good. that is by far the best of the four core courses in marine sciences. informative and interactive. doug got a good evaluation for that one. today, we sat around picklefish, talking about global warming over pizza (which doug paid for) while charlie and marcus passed a pitcher of beer back and forth...across me (i was sitting between them). in retrospect, charlie and i should have traded places when he and marcus decided to split a pitcher of killian's irish red (which doug also paid for). it was a good (free) lunch and a good discussion. rochelle showed up late because she got engaged and couldn't get her mother off the phone. congrats to her. i like rochelle. i think we have a lot in common. i decided this one day when we bonded over a shared love of shoes and purses, which we discovered when she complimented me on my lovely green liz claiborne purse and asked where i got it. towards the end of lunch, we stopped talking about global climate change and just started chatting about grad school in general. doug asked if we had opportunities to teach in the marine sciences dept (he's really focused in the earth sciences dept), and we don't really. my teaching experience comes from my senior year of undergrad when the bio dept was basically desperate for someone to teach a couple of labs. perhaps in a year or so when my fellowship is over and a grant is paying for my education, i'll be able to do some teaching for cash again. i think i've decided that i want to go into academia. i like teaching, and i'll still be able to do research in a university environment. doug also brought up the subject of comps in that conversation. damn comps. i'm really scared of those. basically, each person on your committee gets to ask you one question about anything related to your field. the question can be in any form, on virtually any subject (within the realm of marine science), with any time limit. some profs ask a question and say, "i want your answer in two hours." some give you a couple of days. some give a little advance warning by handing you a stack of books and telling you to read them. some give you no clue. some want an answer straight from you. some want references. some want a paper. some want an oral answer. some allow you to go home and answer the question. some require you to sit in a room alone with no references until it's done. some ask simple questions. some ask the most complicated things you've ever heard. and almost every grad student enters comps with absolutely no idea what to expect. everyone i know dreads comps. everyone i know who has already taken their comps studied for them for at least a month prior to the actual exams. thank god you don't have comps until after all your coursework is complete. for me, as a PhD student coming straight from undergrad, that'll take a while. i need 60 credit hours plus my dissertation...i'll have 19 hrs at the end of the semester. at least 37 of my 60 credits need to be from courses...i can do 8 hrs of directed study, and i have to have 12 hours of dissertation credit (but i can have up to 15). hmm...maybe it won't be that long before comps, after all. 18 more actual class credits only amounts to ~2 semesters. wow. i can finish my coursework next year. sweet! then i can just do directed study and dissertation hours. that is so awesome. i may finish my PhD in 4 years yet. i might actually be able to fulfill my dream of getting my PhD at 25. well, i'll turn 26 a couple of months after i get it, but still. a doctorate at 25...

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