Thursday, April 24, 2008


My qualifying exams are on Monday and Tuesday, from 10 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon each day.

[A prominent philosopher of language, when visiting Miami, at whose University--one of the top couple on the Leiter list--the grad student just turn in a portfolio of their best papers, responded to my description of the qual process with a tone of genuine shock. 'You have a *sit-down, closed book* qualifying exam? That's a bit passe, isn't it?' So it is. I plan, if I pass, on being insufferably smug about it in any and all future conversations with any graduate students not subjected to this little rite of passage. "In my day..."]

In any case, I expect the next few days to be taken up with an orgy of studying, reviewing and re-reviewing over notes and so on, so this will almost certainly be my last pre-qual post. Assuming I survive, as I start to organize all of this material to the form it will ultimately take in my dissertation proposal, I'll probably start posting here more.

Meanwhile, I end with a quote that I've been trying to take to heart in these last days before the quals (thanks to N. for reminding me of it):

"I must not fear. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."

--Bene Geserit Litany, from "Dune" by Frank Herbert

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