It has been a long 8 weeks, but my comprehensive exams are officially done! In my department at the University of Ottawa, the comps have both written and oral components. On October 18th I was given 3 questions, and 4 weeks to answer two of them (each answer was limited to 15 pages, double-spaced). Once my written answers were deemed satisfactory, I was allowed to proceed to an oral defense, which took place on Monday afternoon. And since my performance at the oral defense was deemed satisfactory as well, I am now officially a PhD Candidate, which means I can move forward with my these proposal, which I will hopefully present early in the New Year. With any luck I will be collecting data and/or analyzing my data by late spring.
Of the two questions that I chose to answer, both were (unsurprisingly) directly related to obesity and physical activity, so I’m hoping to re-work them into blog posts or a series of posts in the New Year. For now I’m waiting to make sure that doesn’t violate any rules within my department (you’re not supposed to talk to anyone about your comps questions during the process, but there seems to be some confusion as to whether I can share that information now that they are done). I am hoping I can share my work here on the blog, because I put a lot of time into writing those papers, and it would be more than a little depressing if they are never to be read by anyone but my committee!
On that note, I’d like to thank my committee for taking time out of their busy schedules to review my papers and to discuss them with me at the oral defense. The oral defense was surprisingly fun, and much less stressful than I was expecting. It was also interesting that the one major complaint about my written work was that I used too many superlatives in my writing, and that it could benefit from being a bit more dull. Both Peter and our former labmate Jen Kuk have been telling me for years that my writing is too conservative, so I was pleased to hear that I have apparently overcome that barrier!
And I’d also like to congratulate my labmate Richard Larouche, who successfully completed his comprehensive exams just a few hours before me on Monday morning. For months his mantra has been “I will be happy when it is Christmas” and I am glad that we are almost there. And of course I’d like to thank my girlfriend/partner/fiance Daun for being so supportive during the comps process, which was pretty stressful at times. I think she’s even more glad it’s over than I am 🙂