Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wednesday Weirdness and Ph.D. quals.

I'm stuck in the office not much new bike news to report on. My efforts to obtain a skinsuit by Friday's Kern TT have all those people racing against me, you can all be happy that I'll be less Aero. (I also refuse to tuck my jersey into my shorts as suggested by a fellow blogger...just too much fashion faux paux for me)

Other than that, the most interesting thing in my day was sitting through a Ph.D. qual exam. Students get so nervous about those--little do they know that by this time, they probably know more than 3/4 of their committee about the topic they're discussing...and we (the academic professoriate) use these activities as a chance to learn new things. The probing questions are actually because we want to KNOW the answer...not because we already do and are just testing you! Ack...I'm spilling all my secrets--I hope no students are reading this! Anyway, the exam was on a really neat technology that could have a significant impact on medical screening in the near future, and it was interesting.

Oh well...time to stop procrastinating and get back to work!

One more's Bike to work day!!!!!! I did, but then again I always do, so it's really not that big a deal. I did take advantage of the free coffee and juice they had on the bike path this morning, though.


Countdown to Kern...2 days.


CyclistRick said...

IME the PhD quals depend in large part on the committee. Some committees can be more brutal than others. I had one grad school cohort who selected part of the committee based on 'eye candy' factor; not always the best measuring stick.

Our BTWD is tomorrow, but I will likely not get to the office as I have to host one of those fine coffee, juice, and coffeecake (perhaps) stations and that will run me so late I will just work from the casa ... though I will bike to where my 'Energizer Station' is located (~4 mi each way).

Kimberly (aka. DrKim) said...

It completely can depend on the committee, and the institution! Here, the Ph.D. screening exam (which occurs first) is more challenging than the Qual. People can fail the Qual, but it is a lot less likely! Very sad about the 'eye candy' factor!

Have fun at your BTWD!
Tomorrow will be 1/2 work and 1/2 getting ready for Kern for me!

dr-nitro said...

Anytime any committee got together at Texas A&M, there was always a possibility that the faculty would turn on each other, then possibly on the student. Students failed the written exams sometimes, only once did I hear of anyone failing the oral defense of exams, but several disseration defenses have been quite contentious. I had two committee members on mine who every other time they sat on a dis defense together, one of them would threaten to fail the other's student. Mine was the last time they will ever sit on a committee together again.

But, my guess here is that you are simply trying to sucker your grads students to let their guard down so you can whack them for not being prepared. So, to any grad students reading this, come prepared and ready to duke it out. That said, I have to say that while I stressed out prior to my defenses, I actually enjoyed them for the intellectual content and stimulation. No screaming between anyone. And beer afterwards.