Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Grad School is Like...

I was talking to Jennifer today about our second prelims in sociology today. For those of you who don't know the second prelim is, as I have always understood it, some in-depth literature review or empirical paper that you write sometime after your first prelim test (oh yeah, you can also take another 7-8 hour exam...if you couldn't guess, I didn't pick that option). The cool thing is once one finishes, one is supposedly a candidate, which sounds so cool.

Unfortunately, there are no formal guidelines for this process beyond a cryptic paragraph in the graduate student guide we got our first year here. So, we get a form that has no information about the process or what we should include, attach, etc. Learing from the mistakes of previous poor souls, I learned that

  1. Don't try and write your proposal where it looks like there is space on the form to do it
  2. Although there is space for four names on the form, you only need three members of your committee
  3. Although this is not listed as a requirement listed anywhere, you should also know to include a reading list...

So, given this, Jennifer and I have decided that the second prelim process is like playing Zelda... You are forever lost in a wilderness with some vague hints of where to go, trying to vanquish opponents along the way (i.e. bureaucracy) trying to find this elusive "princess" that you are told exists but you are convinced really doesn't. And, the only way that you know how to find the Princess is having a friend who is either a) much better at games than you and s/he shows you how to beat the game, or b) your friend has a subscription to NINTENDO magazine that gives you all the codes to cheat and beat the game...


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