Saturday, January 30, 2010

I'm Studying...Do I Need This?

I was checking my Yahoo email this evening. It has been about 5 days since I have looked at it and I am thinking that I should look at it more often because I got a very important email that I should have replied to by now. But my inattentiveness is not the purpose of this post. I writing this post because of the content in that email and I don't know what to say when I respond.

The email was an official invitation to do a seminar and interview for a faculty position at the university where I got my bachelor's degree. I would love to be back in my home state and working at that wonderful university. There is a problem though. This is a portion of the first sentence of the email: "...we understand that you are completing a PhD in Botany and the Department of ... would like to hear about your research." Do you see what the problem is now?

Heaven help me. How did this happen? I was in touch with one of the faculty a little over a year ago and thoroughly (or so I thought) discussed the nature of the doctoral program that I am in. I was told that they would be looking for someone that studies anything having to do with plants and that I would be the first one they thought of when they could fund the position. Somehow their need has morphed into botany.

They do not have a single female faculty member in the department and I suspect that they desperately need one to increase their diversity. They also do not have anyone doing any research on plants and desperately need to fill that gap as well. But I don't do research; I diagnose and manage plant health problems. That is what I told them a year ago and they said that was great.

Their preferred date for the seminar is March 1. So what am I going to say to them? I don't know. Any ideas?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Good News

I did a partial re-take of the disastrous exam and I passed!!! So I now have to take only one more written exam and the oral. I am happy, but mostly feel relieved. I am very grateful that the test coordinator and other professors realized that the testing conditions were unacceptable and therefore allowed me to re-do the part of the final that I tried to do near the end of the day but could not do because of the distracting noise level.

So now I can move forward and prepare for my last semester in this program. I have a lot of studying to do. The written final will be on plant pathology including some history, but mainly diagnosis and management of viral, bacterial and fungal plant diseases. The oral will be on plant pathology, sustainable agriculture, pesticides and herbicides, and integrated pest management.

I've already incorporated yoga and working out at the gym into my life and the studying starts this weekend.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Moving Forward

It sure doesn’t feel like it has been a little over a month since I have posted here. I have been both working and relaxing. The spring semester has started and I am moving forward and preparing to have a successful outcome this time.

A few days after I got the test results, I met with the exam coordinator of the disastrous exam. I requested and was allowed to re-take a small portion of his section of the final. That brought my score up to 79%. The coordinator suggested that I request to re-take a small portion of another section given by another professor. I have requested a meeting with this other professor, but have not heard back. This is something that I have to pursue this week.

I feel justified in making requests to re-take portions of the final that I tried to do at the end of the day when my brain was too fried from all of the noise in the adjoining rooms. However I have no excuse for the failure of the other exam. I just wasn’t ready for it. I was working so much that I did not have time to study for both exams. So I chose to put more emphasis on studying for the harder exam and spent very little time studying for the so-called easier one, which I then failed. Hopefully, I will have only one written exam and the oral to study for this semester.

What am I doing to ensure success this time? I have a list; it is as follows:

1. I quit my nematology job, so I am working only one job. This will eliminate the running back and forth between jobs.

2. I will not work full-time. I will not work more than 32 hours per week.

3. I have made out a study schedule and I will stick to it.

4. I have started doing yoga to reduce stress and improve my mental clarity.

5. I have made out a schedule to work out at the gym and I will stick to it.

6. I have reduced the amount of time I spend on Facebook by eliminating some of the games that I was playing.

So the semester has started and I am off and running. Will do my best to keep you posted.