Went to school as promised to attend the little orientation for those who’re interested in taking the comprehensive examinations for the term. I arrived five minutes late (the start was supposedly one in the afternoon) at the Literature Department, and for several awkward moments I was worried I went to the wrong place, since the door to the room was locked. There was another girl who arrived after me — taking up Literature rather than Creative Writing — and together we waited in the hall for someone to help us out (while hurriedly accessing the school’s Wi-Fi to check our mail to see if we were in the wrong place).
Barely ten minutes past one, the door opened, and out came another student. Apparently the orientation had started already, but someone had locked the door for privacy. Thankful, me and my companion quietly went to the small corner of the faculty room where the orientation was taking place. We weren’t as late as we thought we were, as they hadn’t gone into the details and expectations about the exam itself. There were about, hmm, six of us post-grad students, all told, but even then it sure felt crowded in that small corner of the room where everyone had been seated in.
I won’t bore anyone with the details of the actual orientation, but here are the important points: the exam itself was divided into three or four odd phases, with most of it scheduled on October 20th, though for those who were going get a take-home portion (which is to say, the Creative Writing students like myself) the deadline for submission was on the 27th at five in the afternoon. As the name suggests, the exam will pretty much test just how much we’ve learned and could apply over our two-odd year stay in our respective programs.
I think it’s at this point that I started groaning in dismay, to the amusement of the others there.
So, we have until the 10th to finish all prerequisites (such as the Certificate of Completion), as well as submit the Comprehensive Exam application form, then prepare for the exam proper. Not really a lot of time to do reviewing, which is why I’m going to probably request for a Leave of Absence again from work so I can properly prepare. The pressure is very real, as you really can only fail at it once, as if you retake the exam twice you’ll have to be forced to take a refresher course on your program. And if you fail after THAT, well, you’re drummed out of the program. Yikes.
Speaking of the Certificate of Completion, I had a bit of trouble with that. You see, I submitted mine last term, but remember I didn’t go through with the comprehensive that time (cold feet plus lack of review material can do that to a person). So when I told the facilitator for this term’s exam (Dr. Baytan) that technically the department already had it… they couldn’t find it. Which is ironic, since the previous term it was my academic records they couldn’t find. Huh.
After the orientation was finished (I guess the good professor was satisfied in scaring all of us out of our wits), we relocated to a nearby pasta and pizzeria for a merienda paid for by the department. While waiting for the food (I ordered a small beef pizza if anyone is curious), we talked some more about our expectations on the exam. What worries we had were put aside when the food arrived though, of which we stuffed ourselves with gusto.
We adjourned for real after that, with all that pressure again hanging over our shoulders. Ugh.
P.S. The department called my house a few minutes after I got home, informing me that they finally did find my Certificate of Academic Completion. This meant that all I needed to submit was an updated list of my grades, as well as the actual Compre application form. I’ll do that on Monday, so I can spend the rest of the time from that point worrying, I mean, preparing for the exam itself.