My first draft on this had so much more content regarding qualifying exam. I went through explaining what is qualifying exam (also known as candidacy exam elsewhere), how it is done (which is very differently across institutions and also across countries), and why it is important. Then I decided “ugh, too much information just to show this stupid chart”, so I started over and this is now the final product.
I tracked how much time I spent writing/studying/preparing for the exam and how much words I had written during the same period. Note that the tracking here started on 23 Dec 2019, but the actual process started way before that, some time in November.
This post is long overdue. I successfully defended my proposal during the qualifying exam, which took place late January 2020. Then, corona happened. Together with the world spiralling into chaos, my project evolved as time passed. While I defended a project looking at the dynamic between our immune system and influenza A infection, I am now actively looking into this new kid in the block: SARS-CoV-2.
Prior to the exam, I fed on horror stories on how it could send my soul flying out of my body and then straight into a pond filled with dead fish. It did not happen that way, and soon I realized those horror stories were, in part, unfounded. I now think that qualifying exam more like a conversation.
With a successful defense, came a gift:
Some institutes award master’s degree upon a successful defense. This is great because I started my PhD straight from an undergraduate degree program.
When time, idea, and creativity permit, I might write about all this with much more details. But for now, this is all I could manage.