Home > Musings about things > Is that what’s good on the streets now? (a little bit of an update)

Is that what’s good on the streets now? (a little bit of an update)

I haven’t been posting as much lately apart from a few Dragonvale updates here and there. Mostly the reason has been the fact that for the past month or so I had been studying for my comprehensive exams for my master’s degree in I.T..

Here’s the skinny for those thinking about getting into a master’s program of this type: it’s a lot different than undergrad. More work, way more stress, and a whole mess of group projects. Then, after you finish the classes and manage to get decent grades (can’t get anything less than a B in the core classes or it doesn’t count), you are still expected to take four comprehensive exams (no multiple choice here, folks) AND complete a master’s project with a faculty member as sponsor/advisor.

Now, I do have to give credit where credit is due… some students fly right through and finish in 2 years. But, then there are those of us who work full time and can’t take 10-12 hours a semester. In summer no classes are offered aside from the project and a self study option, so if you don’t get the classes in the fall or spring, you gotta wait to finish.

I just took the comprehensive exams in Java, Database, Networks, and Principles of I.T. Passed the first three, not the fourth. That bums me out a bit, but I have another chance to take the exam again in the fall for that section. Getting the first three out of the way is the best part for me. I spent about two weeks holed up at my local library, using vacation time to study for the exams. Some of the classes I had taken 2 or more years ago, the others I had just finished by this spring. Let’s just say there was a gap that I had to overcome to remember the concepts from the earlier classes.

The advice from the professors who were going to grade the exams: Study everything. No formal review, no tutoring, nothing. I was on my own. I guess in a sense that made passing the exams that much sweeter, because aside from one quick chat with a prof, I didn’t have much help preparing.

It’s been a helluva struggle. My poor husband was getting stressed out watching me get stressed from studying all the time. I feel bad for that, but that’s how he is. If he sees I’m upset he gets upset for me. He’s good people 🙂

So, now I can relax somewhat until the fall semester starts. I have a few more electives plus a project to complete, and then I will be done.

Working out  has been a godsend for me to get through the stress and anxiety of preparing for the exams. I’d spend the day studying, then by nightfall I’d be either at the dojo practicing bearhugs and Kung Fu forms, or in my room pushing more weight with Pump Revolution. After a session of either, I felt more relaxed and ready to take on the next day of studying.

Really and truly, the best advice I got from folks I knew who finished their master’s program was the following: For the comprehensive exams, when studying treat each day as if you were at work. Study 8-5, take a lunch break, and then after 5 knock off and do what you normally do to de-stress from a typical work day.  That’s the only way you can cover 4 classes’ worth of material in two or three weeks.

So, that’s my personal update/soapbox speech about graduate school. This first weekend post-exam I plan to spend some time in the kitchen catching up on lost time cooking, and really enjoy my free time once again. No more writing code, no more subnetting, and no more designing Entity Relationship diagrams. I’m done, y’all! 😉

Categories: Musings about things
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