Sunday, July 30, 2006

"Got quals ?"

Yes, I do -- I passed.

Or, rather, my thesis committee is recommending that I pass, but I won't have "officially" passed until their recommendation has been approved by the overall graduate committee for my PhD program.

As is often the case, the actual event was a lot less painful than I feared it would be. I think the main reason for this was that I managed to establish a reasonable amount of credibility early on by being able to answer most of the questions they asked about the biology of T7. After that, the questions were less of the explicitly probing "Do you have enough background knowledge ?" sort and tended more towards discussion of why I'd chosen the research plan I outlined in my proposal, and whether it was the best approach. Classwork didn't really come up, even after the chair of my committee explicitly proposed redirecting questions from my proposal to more general issues. So, the overall recommendation was that I pass.

[
My favorite bit of the whole thing was when TK, bless his heart, started to answer a question that was meant for me and had to be dissuaded from doing so by the other members of my committee frantically waving at him to stop talking.]

The only [minor] fly in the ointment is that my committee wants another meeting in 6 months, rather than the usual 12 months. That's because, basically, after only 2 months on my project I don't totally have it under control, so they figured having a follow-up meeting sooner rather than later was a good idea. While it's kind of annoying to have another deadline of that sort [I was anticipating a year of being left alone], I suppose it's a good forcing function and will probably result in me making more progress in the next 6 months than I normally would have.

In any case, now I get to mentally prepare for a much bigger milestone: having our first child. Two weeks till estimated first contact, sooner if Christina's wishes are fulfilled.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats. I'm also glad you have sane priorities. I know too many people that might have said quals were a bigger milestone. For example, on returning from a conference with his wife in the hospital giving birth, someone I know decided that he needed to spin by the lab "on the way" for checking e-mail or some other minor work related thing! He's a domestic hero.

11:57 AM  
Blogger JoJo said...

Very nice Alex!!!! Congrats on passing.... like you mentioned, someting bigger is coming.... :)

6:04 PM  
Anonymous Bill Tozier said...

Well done!

So what do you know about T-even phage? (that was one of mine, back in the day)

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Alex,

Congrats to you from Lori and Paul. Can't wait to hear about mini mallet soon!

3:18 AM  
Anonymous eric said...

nice one alex, now lets get down to the real business at hand and welcome another mallet into the big wide world.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Pedro Beltrão said...

congratulations on both accounts :)

11:41 AM  

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