Monday, October 10, 2005

It's Done Then!

Woo-hoo! After about six weeks of work, I've finally finished writing the comprehensive examination for my Ph.D. The written part of the exam consists of four questions created by my thesis committee, each requiring a three to five page paper in response. This is harder than it sounds. The problem is not getting five of material, the problem is condensing your answer to only five pages! The questions are very broad, and a big part of the test is seeing whether or not you can distill the issues down to their bare essentials. Of course, everything you say has to be supported by research as well. The final paper was 25 single-spaced pages (five pages of references), weighing in at a little more than 12,000 words. Whew!

The next phase is for me to defend my exam answers orally. That will be scheduled once my committee has had a chance to look over the written paper. After that, I have to write and orally defend my thesis topic proposal, and then I'll be officially admitted to candidacy. That just leaves the actual design of my experiment, collection of data, and writing the thesis itself. I'm still hoping to finish my Ph.D. by this time next year.

It's a shame I didn't finish just a bit earlier, though. Homeschooling, particularly in places hit by the hurricane, is becoming a big deal. I have an idea for a non-fiction book, sort of a Dr. Spock-type book, but about education for the non-educator. If I had that written and ready to go, I'd probably make a million, easy. Unfortunately, I really think I need the Ph.D. to give me the clout I need to sell the book, so oh well. I still think it will do well, but it won't be the blockbuster it might have been.

But for now, I am one happy camper, since at least this phase is done. And there was much rejoicing!

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