One more hurdle cleared…

As noted back in January after I passed my Latin exam, yesterday was the date schedule for my oral qualifying exams. Preparation these last two and a half months has involved familiarizing myself with a bibliography of ~70 books (30 Roman history, 15 ancient Greek history, 15 medieval history, 15 relating to my dissertation topic), making sure I can talk with some authority about all of those areas of historical inquiry, as well as keep in my head the broad sweep of those histories, and produce (and be able to justify my choices for) syllabi for undergrad survey courses in ancient Greece and the middle ages.

Simple, right?

What I found during my preparation is that the hardest thing for me to do was keep the big picture in my head. This makes a lot of sense, really; most people start with a survey and then gradually narrow their focus. Because of how I got here, I really started with the details I was already interested in, and then had to figure out how to broaden my perspective so I could contextualize those details in a wider discussion. At some point I had to sit down, make a huge timeline from 753 BC to 1453 AD, divide it into periods, and force myself to refer to it constantly.

Anyway, without getting into a transcript of the exam, my committee members seemed pleased enough to tell me yesterday afternoon that I had indeed passed. The issue I describe above came up in their feedback, and what they said about definitely made sense and was helpful in terms of figuring out how to frame things in the future, but they didn’t treat it as a showstopping issue by any means.

It’s a step that feels very good to have done, and I left the room yesterday with both a sense of accomplishment (to say nothing of gratitude to my committee and everybody else who has helped get me here). So, on to the next step. I have a dissertation prospectus to defend now, and we’re trying to button that date down right now. It looks like it might be sometime during Orthodox Holy Week, possibly Holy Friday; we’ll see how it all shakes out. Once that’s defended, then I’ll be ABD (“all but dissertation”), and while I know this isn’t the case for everybody, the dissertation is the part I’m really looking forward to.

Your prayers up to his point have been greatly appreciated; your prayers moving forward are equally craved. I’m getting there, bit by bit…


3 Responses to “One more hurdle cleared…”

  1. 1 Michael Hancock-Parmer 30 March 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I appreciate this post-exam review! Glad you passed — it does seem that we have many of the same concerns. I hope my own exams go as well as yours!

  1. 1 Orthodox Collective Trackback on 30 March 2013 at 3:35 pm
  2. 2 A new acronym – ABD | Leitourgeia kai Qurbana: Contra den Zeitgeist Trackback on 13 July 2013 at 5:29 pm

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