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tomorrow, the tournament begins

One of the things I've been doing here and there all summer is preparing to take my phd qualifying exams. Five 3-hour long exams which we have to pass (among other things) in order to graduate. Before I even started last year, I took them and passed 2, so I have 3 more left to pass this year. This is the year I have the best chance of passing them, since we just got done taking all the classes on the subjects they cover. And also it's the year I really need to pass them, because particle theorists really don't like to give funding to somebody who still hasn't passed their quals (a reasonable request, I suppose!).

Tomorrow is the first day of qualifying exams, continuing all day Tuesday and Wednesday. I've been gearing up for this for several months, and it feels like tomorrow is the beginning of a big tournament, like Rocky or Karate Kid or something. it also feels like tomorrow marks the official "end" of the summer for me. We don't start classes for another week-and-a-half, but taking the quals feels enough like school to count, and I'll get to see a bunch of people whom I haven't seen much of all summer. Which makes up a large part of the "back to school" excitement I associate with this time of the year.

How am I feeling going in to them? Pretty damn good, overall. Nothing's guaranteed, but odds are... I'm going to smash them so far into the ground they wouldn't dare come back to taunt me another year! The only thing I'm nervous about is how random some of the questions are. 90% of them I can do easily, but it's that other 10% that makes me go "what the fuck?" before I read the solution that could, in the event of extremely bad luck of the draw, defeat me. Nevertheless, I can't wait. It'll be very nice if I can confidently say next week that I've knocked them out.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
spoonless
Sep. 12th, 2004 04:12 pm (UTC)
hehe... perfect! It's even more apropos when I realize I have a girlfriend named Adrienne to cheer for me. :)
geheimnisnacht
Sep. 12th, 2004 04:43 pm (UTC)
Dude, E&M though. There's at least a 20% it kicks all of our asses. They just need to throw some stress tensor stuff and some retarded times in there and we're roasted.
spoonless
Sep. 12th, 2004 05:22 pm (UTC)
I think I've got the hang of the retarded times, now. Although it can be a bit confusing, they'll probably stick to simple questions on it. Stress tensor yeah, we really didn't have enough practice on that.

But then again, the only practice qual which actually had it was one we successfully did without even using it. In other words, it's probably not even required for us to know it.

Stuff I'm hoping isn't on there, or we're screwed:

- vector sphereical harmonics (XLM's) and multipole radiation
- partial wave analysis
- conical boundry conditions
- WKB approximation
- the density matrix
- too much on wave-guides & cavities (attenuation and power loss and all that nasty stuff)
- too much solid-state statmech stuff (since we never really did any of it in josh's class)
- fourier-transformed fluxuations and differential suseptibility
- jeffiminko's field generalizations, lienard-wiechart potentials, poynting theorem for macroscopic media, complex dispersion relations, and lots of other random stuff in Jackson that (hopefully) wouldn't be appropriate for them to put on there.

Looking at this list now, I realize I should take a look at cavities today or tomorrow. I really forget everything about them, and that's the most likely thing out of everything there that could potentially be on it.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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