Sunday, May 31, 2009

More Studying

I did some more studying today, although not as much as I had hoped. Today I studied the following:

1. Differences between parthenogenesis, thelytoky, and arrhenotoky
2. Life history, biology, pest status, host plants, damage caused by 17 plant pests
3. Studied cultural, biological, and chemical methods that can be used to control or manage the 17 pests.

Even though this doesn't look like much, studying about 17 insect pests feels like a lot to me. I now have only 3 weekends remaining to study for the final. It will be hard to study Monday through Friday because I'm taking 3 internships. However I am going to try for at least 1 hour a day.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Studying for the Final

I managed to get some studying done today. I think that blogging about my progress will help.

Today I did the following:

1. Reviewed sight ID of 38 plant pests
2. Studied sight ID of 24 additional plant pests
3. Prepared some practice questions on root knot nematodes, nematodes that transmit viruses, nema lab techniques, diagnostic characteristics for some major insects, Phytoseid predator mites and the mites they prey on, how to solve a spider mite problem in a chosen crop, and many more things.
4. Studied the differences between insects and mites
5. Studied how mites compensate for their small size
6. Studied arrhenotoky genetic system in mites and its relevance to pest control
7. Studied Integrated Mite Management
8. Studied definition of biological control terms: classical biological control, augmentation, inundation, inoculation
9. Studied how to conserve natural enemies in a cropping system
10. Compared the effectiveness, advantages and disadvantages of phytoseiids vs insects as natural enemies

I studied 7.5 hours today. It's not enough. I will have to crank it up some more.

Crunch Time

I have 4 weekends left to study for my First Comprehensive Final and I am having a hard time concentrating. I feel so burned out. Last semester just did me in. Somehow I have to find the strength and concentration to keep studying. Because I'm feeling so burned out, I am planning to take only one final this summer. I will have to take 3 finals during the fall semester. So the final that I need to prepare for now is on June 23; I have to be ready for it and I have to pass it.

I have been trying to figure out a way to make progress with the studying in spite of how I feel. I have come up with a plan. Tonight I am posting here a brief general outline of the topics that that will be on the final. At the end of every day, I will post the topics I have completed studying that day. Monday through Friday, I will not be able to study very much because I am juggling 3 internships and 1 part-time job. But I will study something, even if it is not much. During the 4 weekends that I have left, I will have to study a lot. I will have to push myself to the max and then push some more.

General Topics for the Comprehensive Final

Part 1. Diagnostics
1. Nematode identification, quantification, and management recommendations for each nematode id'd
2. Insect and mite identification (98 of them) - know life history, life stages, pest status, host plant (including part of plant), types of cultural, biological, chemical control

Part 2. Concepts and Principles (7-10 questions)
1. Nematology - races, resistance, extraction techniques, lab techniques, major diseases, virus vectors
2. Mites - differences between insects and mites, the different mites, life stages, host plants, damage, predator mites, mite reproduction, management and control strategies
3. Integrated Pest Management - definition of IPM, economic injury level, economic threshold level, sampling methods, trapping methods
4. Biological Control - definition, terminology, important uses of biological control in the past
5. Insect Toxicology - insect nervous system, resistance
6. Pesticides - nematicides, acaricides, insecticides, major resistance issues in this state.

Part 3. Broad-scope integrative questions (3-4 questions, 2-3 page answers for each question is required)
1. Acarology - steps and procedures involved in finding a natural enemy in another country for an invasive mite pest in the U.S., then bringing the natural enemy to the U.S., rearing it, and releasing it.
2. Entomology - design a study to determine the efficacy of 3 insecticides. Defend the experimental design.
3. Nematology

Later tonight I will post what topics I studied today. I hope this helps me.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Appeal Accepted!

The financial aid office approved my appeal! So much has happened with financing in the last few months and I feel like I've been on a roller coaster ride. However unless something else happens, I should now have all the financing I need to complete my program. Woohoo!!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Spiders are great for agriculture. They help to reduce the number of pests that can harm a crop. When one is scouting and going along a crop row, if spider webs or spiders are observed among the foliage, that is an indication that a good pest management system is in place.

But I don't want spiders in my car! Almost every day I see one in there. A couple of days ago, I was driving along on a busy street and a spider dropped down from the visor and hung on its web right in front of my face. I felt like stopping the car right then and there, but I could not. So, I kept driving with the thing hanging right there. Fortunately, it went back up the web to the visor and walked over to the other visor and stayed there until I reached my destination. I quickly got out of the car, grabbed a kleenex, put it over the spider which was again hanging from its web and put it in some bushes. I don't like to kill spiders, so I let it live and it walked away. I wish that I didn't have a fear of spiders.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

End of My Assistantship

I have a lot of studying to do, but I want to post an update of two things:

1. I turned in my appeal and supporting documentation to the financial aid office on Monday. It takes about 5 days for them to make a decision. So I am waiting.

2. In a previous post, I mentioned that the last day of my assistantship/job was coming up soon and my Graduate Advisor had not given any indication that he was going to give me a going away lunch. This bothered me because he had given a going away lunch for another student. So, last Thursday, the day before my last day, I went into his office to talk with him and this is how our conversation went:

Me: So, tomorrow is my last day here.

Grad Advisor: Tomorrow? Already? Oh...I wasn't keeping track...

Me: Yes, well...tomorrow is my last day. So I just wanted to tell you that I will have to come in over the weekend to clear out my desk because I've been too busy to do it before my last day.

Grad Advisor: don't have to rush. You can take your time. The only thing that has changed is that I don't have money to provide an assistantship for you, but...but you don't have to go.

Me: Ummm (I was stunned, could not think of anything to say to him).

Grad Advisor: I hope you won't forget about us. You are going to come by to visit us aren't you?

Me: Of course. You are still the chair of my supervisory committee. That will not change.

So, he did not plan a going away lunch for me because he was in denial that I was leaving. I have done good work for him and we have had a pretty good advisor-grad student relationship, so I did not understand why I wasn't getting a lunch send-off.'s his fault that I'm not there anymore. He was depending on only one grant to staff his office. What faculty/researcher in their right mind would have only one grant in place to run and staff their office and lab?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Another Obstacle in the Road

I received an email today from the financial aid office telling me that because I have too many credits (more than 120) that I am not eligible for more financial aid. This is the too many credits issue that I have written about a couple of times previously on this blog. About a month ago, the fa office told me that I might not need to file an appeal and that they would let me know if I needed to. So why have they waited until a Saturday..the Saturday before the start of the summer semester? Thank goodness I had a partial statement of appeal already prepared. They require supporting documentation, but they don't tell us what documentation they require. They leave it up to the student filing the appeal to figure it out and hope they get it right. So I am going to turn in everything I can think of that proves that I have to take 20 more credits to meet the requirements of my program so that I can receive my doctorate. This is so stressful. And I thought that the financing of the rest of my education was all settled. I am so close to being finished. What will I do if my appeal is not accepted and my already approved student loan becomes what...un-approved? This is so crazy.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sad Thoughts and Friends

Friday is my last day at work. My assistantship is ending because my advisor lost his funding. About a month ago he took everyone in the office out to lunch as a goodbye lunch for another student who had recently graduated and was leaving for another position. I am now leaving for another position and so far he hasn't said a word about taking me for a goodbye lunch. Perhaps it could be argued that he is waiting until the last minute to say something, but I don't think so. For the recently graduated student, he sent an email around with the lunch invitation almost 2 weeks before the event. I think that he is not going to take me to lunch. My last day will or would have come and gone as if it were any other day. How sad...I've been there for over 2.5 years.

During the time that I have been working in the office, everyone's birthday has been celebrated. Except mine. The assistant director of the office would always make sure that cake was purchased, cards made/purchased and signed by everyone. But not for me. I don't know why.

One of my co-worker's/friend has noticed the slight and commented on it. So on Friday, even though it is not my birthday, we are going to celebrate my birthday. We are going out and everyone in the office has been invited except for the assistant director (who is no longer in our office due to the funding cut) and my advisor. K is a good friend.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Funding for the Summer!

I have funding all set for the summer semester. First of all, I got accepted for the Minority Supplemental Retention Scholarship! It is going to pay for all of the 10 credits that I am taking for the summer! Woohoo!!!

Second, I got another part-time job. I will be working as a Nematology Identifier in a nematode assay lab. The position is for 20 hours a week and it will start in about 2 weeks. I will be getting internship credits for working and as a result I do not have to hunt around for another internship this summer. In addition, I still have the other part-time job that I started half way through the spring semester. I will continue to work at that one for 10 hours a week. A few weeks ago, I was told that a part-time 20 hr per week position is going to open up at a government facility near campus and was asked whether I was interested. I am! It involves citrus. So when that opens up, I'll apply and if I get it, I'll drop the 10 hr a week position. So, I have income sources set up for both the summer and fall! These are all positions that I could continue to work at even after graduation if there is a delay in finding the 'right' job.

Third, I will be receiving the remainder of my unsubsidized student loan (which will be maxed out with the first summer disbursement) and I will receive the Graduate Plus Loan.

So I am all set for the summer and almost set for the fall! I will have to apply again for the Supplemental Retention Scholarship for the fall semester, but that is the only thing left to do as far as funding for the fall is concerned. I will have income and the student loan.

So now I have to get on with the business of studying for the big comprehensive program finals. I will take 2 of them this summer. The first one is on June 23 and the second one is on June 26. They last all day. I'm actually concerned about the one on June 26. I have heard students who have taken it before say that it lasts for 9.5 hours and that there is no time to eat lunch and barely time to go the restroom. I will have to take snacks and eat as I write.

Friday, May 1, 2009

About Joyce

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Joyce!
  1. You share your birthday with Joyce.
  2. If you toss Joyce 10000 times, she will not land heads 5000 times, but more like 4950, because her head weighs more and thus ends up on the bottom!
  3. The first domain name ever registered was
  4. If every star in the Milky Way was a grain of salt they would fill Joyce!
  5. Joyce can't sweat.
  6. Over 46,000 pieces of Joyce float on every square mile of ocean!
  7. Finding Joyce on Christmas morning is believed to bring good luck.
  8. Fish travel in schools, but whales travel in Joyce!
  9. It takes a lobster approximately 7 years to grow to be Joyce!
  10. The deepest part of Joyce is over 35,000 feet deep.

Just having some fun. If you want to try it go to the Mechanical Contrivium.