Oral Exams Are Upon Us

My first oral exam of graduate school is next week. I know that it’s good practice for a PhD program, but I am experiencing every negative feeling that I can. Anxiety, dread, fear, etc. I probably have no reason to experience any of these, the professor has emphasized that she is giving oral exams so we can practice for PhD programs and I have been reading like crazy for it.


Even still, some of the claims that I am attempting to make within my readings and ideas, although reasonable, are maybe a bit of a stretch. It makes me think of my policy debate days when I could claim fiat for crazy affirmatives (Basically, claiming an imaginary world where the plan is already in place). I owned claiming fiat. Can I do the same thing here? I would love to be able to claim fiat for this exam, but I don’t think that’s a thing outside of the debate world.

It really doesn’t help my anxiety levels that this is a group oral exam either.


Group projects are hard, but when you legitimately have to rely on others to help you pass something and you are a 4.0-student, there is even more anxiety attached. I can’t depend on people who aren’t exactly like me. Unfortunately, the only person in the class that I could depend on as a groupmate has a totally different topic than I do and, therefore, we couldn’t work together.

I wish everyone could be as Type-A as I am.

Part of me feels that when I walk into the exam room, everything I’ve read about Martin Heidegger, Bruno LaTour, Levi Bryant, will go out the window and the exam will go something like this:


We also submitted our own questions for the exam – only three for a 90 minute exam – and I am also imagining this happening in the scenario:


How do people deal with things like oral exams? How do people deal with things like group projects? DOES GRAD SCHOOL EVER END?

Just kidding about that last question. I love grad school. Sometimes, though, I need more of a break than I allow myself. My entire life is grad school and it gets hard.

I just have to remind mysef each and every day that #NobodyQuitsInApril and April is almost over.

So, I’ll leave you with this, the best advice I’ve found about oral exams:



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