I am in the second day of my written comprehensive exam. The written exam at Miami involves me choosing one question from a list generated by my exam committee and writing a 15-25 page essay in response to that question based on my special topic reading list (which I created). I have a week to complete the essay, at which point I give copies to my exam members; they have a week to read and respond to the essay before we meet for my (3 hour) oral exam.
Since the special topic I’m discussing is invention, I initially thought it would be worthwhile to keep a daily log of my activities and progress during the exam, including pictures (why not?). I’m currently rethinking that.
Yesterday (Day One), I received my questions via email at 8am. By 9:30am, I had read through the list of questions, written some general brainstorming ideas about what I wanted to talk about, chosen one question (out of the six listed) to respond to, and generated about 2 pages of text about that question. I did all of this while sitting with my laptop in bed, waiting for my dogs to wake up. Once they did, we went downstairs. . .where the day really began.
After that 90 minute period of brainstorming, I was quite productive. I took the dogs for a walk, checked my email, rearranged my kitchen cabinets, read one last text from my reading list, did some laundry, and exercised. All the while, Harry Potter movies played in the background (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was a Christmas gift from my mom, but I couldn’t watch it without watching the first 4 films again, could I?)
By yesterday evening, I ran out of other things to do, so it was back to the exam: I managed another page or so of writing on the exam question, along with a list of big topics to cover in the essay (kind of an outline, but I’m not a big outline fan, so I don’t want to call it an outline. I am now fully indoctrinated into invention studies in writing, I’m pretty sure). I finished the day watching Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (the other 4 films are lengthy. Stop judging me.) before going to bed early.
Today. . .more of the same. Since my printer is ancient, I drove to campus to print out some notes I took during my reading of texts on my special topic list along with the 6 pages I generated yesterday. That happened about 4 hours ago. Since then, I have been (not-so-) strategically avoiding any actual writing. Argh! 6 days to go.