Thursday, May 7, 2009

And Along Come Quals

I have turned my attention nearly completely to studying for qualifying exams. All that remains of my thesis is to print it out on the fancy paper, and all that remains of classes is a couple paragraphs for me to write for a final project report.

Countdown is to the last week in May.

I have been studying for the past four days really hard on manufacturing, and I feel pretty good on this one. I have memorized nearly all the equations I need to, I feel confident in my depth and breadth of knowledge of manufacturing processes. This is a topic I have always felt pretty comfortable with.

Now I am turning to the second topic, control systems. I feel weakest in this area, although I have been studying slowly but surely this whole semester so I'm not completely over my head.

I haven't studied at all for design, for a couple reasons. First, it's a nebulous topic so it's hard to know what to study. Second, I have no study group for this one, because only one other person is taking it and they are not interested in studying together. Third, the material overlaps with manufacturing so I feel like I've already been working on it somewhat. But despite these reasons, I do need to study and there are some equations I need to refresh myself on. I'll get there. Controls first.

How I feel about this whole qualifying exam varies depending on the day. Some days I'm scared. I'm scared of failing, because I hardly ever fail at things and this is sort of a big thing.

But, I'm trying to put fear of failing into motivation to study. On the one hand, I want to be able to say, I did my very best. I don't want to second-guess myself and say, well if only I had studied a little harder... But if I fail, maybe I want an excuse to make myself feel better. Well, you know, I was taking classes and doing research and writing a thesis and studying for quals...

No matter how I psychoanalyze it, three weeks from now life will go on one way or the other. All I can do is be proud of what I have accomplished no matter the outcome.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck.

    Maybe try to talk to people who took these last year?

    Especially for the one where you don't have a study group/it seems nebulous and you're not sure what to expect.

    Otherwise, just make sure you get a good night's sleep and don't panic! Amazingly, life does indeed go on after tests.