Today I got word that my last of three comprehensive exams "received a strong pass!" While all of my exams challenged me, this third exam worried me the most.
Each exam is produced in collaboration with one faculty member who acts also as the first reader. In order to pass, the first reader and a second, anonymous reader must both pass the exam. When I took my first two exams I had an idea of who the second readers would be and felt confident that they would be fair, critical, and ultimately pass the exam.
The last exam, however, I had no idea who the second reader would be, and how they would perceive the very particular approach I took in sensing the coloniality in the Colombian film, La Sirga. I told myself stories about how workplace politics might leave me failing the exam, and was adamant that if I failed I would drop out.
I occupied my mind with ideas about how it would play out that I couldn't possibly know, let alone control if my fortune telling proved true, and I made myself feel stuck. Only in the past week before finding out I passed have I been able to re-calibrate and begin working on my prospectus. Lesson learned for sure: there will always be aspects of life, academic or otherwise, that I cannot control, and instead of thinking of this as a loss or something to worry about I can make better use of my time by acknowledging the things that I cannot control and finding a sense of freedom in that. I cannot control other people's choices, which means I do not have to worry about what they will or won't do.
In my program I only have to be coursework complete, pass or waive the language exam, and pass the three comp exams in order to advance to candidacy and become ABD.
I am so excited--and so proud--that I can finally say I am ABD: All But Dissertation, or in other words A BIG DEAL!
I've outlined my prospectus and I am ready to move forward to the next stage in my writing life. I'm working on finding a comfortable daily writing practice while also accepting myself and my self-care needs.
Some goals going forward:
I don't come here often enough to give you updates, but I hope I can find this space to be more of a thought and idea dump than it has been in the past.
ABD Danielle, the PhD Candidate
Assistant Professor of English/Film Studies
Transnational Cinema, Decolonial Methodologies, Feminisms, Neoliberalism
Winona State University
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.