A Banner Day!

On January 5, we started the Comprehensive Qualifying Exam – our first real “checkpoint” through which we have to pass as students on our way to earning a PhD in Public Policy. Four days later, we turned it in and the wait began. The exam is basically a pass/fail measure which covers the material from our core courses and requires that we apply it.

I won’t bore you with the details of the test other than to say I was very happy to turn it in; not because I knew I did well, but because I was glad I could come out of my four-day sequestered state. We were told that it would take about two weeks for the faculty to score the exam and let us know how we did.

I have to say that waiting for my score was excruciating! Each passing day was worse … would this be the day I got my results? … what if I failed? … what could I have done differently? … did I answer everything they asked? As the days went by, the self-doubt mounted. There were points in time when I had resigned myself to having to take the exam again in May. There were others when I thought I probably did “ok”. But I never knew.

That all changed at 4:16 PM today. I got my results – and I PASSED! HOOAH! It was a great feeling of relief knowing that I had successfully maneuvered through the first gate.

But that wasn’t the only bit of good news for the day. Back in August, I had applied (for the third time) for a program at work that would allow me to split my time between work and school (20 hours at work, the other 20 allocated to academics). It’s a pretty competitive program and only about a dozen applicants are selected each year. In return for the reduced workload, the program requires a 3-to-1 payback of the time spent devoted to academics. It’s a pretty good program if you can get into it.

Three semesters as both a full-time PhD student and a full-time employee have been pretty trying. By the end of each semester, I’m usually exhausted; both mentally and physically. All that is about to change!

I learned that I was accepted to the program. I don’t have any of the particulars on when I’ll start my reduced work schedule, but just knowing that I’m now in the program has lifted a great weight from my shoulders.

So … great news all around – a banner day!


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