Tag Archives: comprehensive exams

Waiting on Results and Planning

I completed my comprehensive exam today and I am full of joy.  I used 6 hours and 12 minutes and maybe a bit of change of the 6 hours and 15 minutes allotted. I think I did okay, certainly well enough to pass.  I want to “pass with distinction” but I did not time myself as well as I could have and my last answer was not as well developed as I would have liked.  Oh well, 4 questions, any of which could have been developed into a thesis or book in 6 hours 15 minutes…I guess I should be satisfied.

So now that the exam is done I wait on results.  Presuming that I am right and that I passed it I will officially graduate on February 15th in Washington DC.

My biggest challenge now is to kick myself back into shape and lose the wait that I picked up over the summer thanks to my friends at Krispy Kreme.  Nothing like 3-5 hot and fresh glazed washed down with a beer or two before bed to pick up some wait.  Tastes great…really filling.  I am pleased that my PT is coming along, especially now that I have time to do it.  This week I have decided to vary what I do and went to a class on body shaping, those girls who lead that shit will kick your ass.  I kept up but it was work.  Today I went to a spinning class.  That too when you do it right takes a lot of effort. However I will kick this in thee ass and be off of the fat boy program as fast as I can.

Next on my agenda is to keep working to recover from Iraq and deal with my PTSD related issues.  I am getting”top cover” from my boss to do this and I am grateful.

Next comes my board certification as a Clinical Chaplain in the hospital setting, with luck that will be done by the spring sometime.  I have a few other certification  type things that I am working on and all should be good when I get them done too.

Finally I am looking at writing two baseball books one on the Negro Leagues.  Over the summer I met Sam Allen, one of the remaining Negro League players who lives in the local area.  I also want to do one on the minor leagues.

I guess that’s enough to put on the table for now. Tonight we watched Four Weddings and a Funeral and Bedazzled and since I don’t want to wake up like Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral by oversleeping my alarm and saying a certain four letter word in a variety of ways as I dash in to work I should get ready for bed.


Padre Steve+

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The Night Before the Big Game: Comprehensive Exams All or Nothing

In the Funky Winkerbean comic there was a strip that one the the characters made this comment:

“There is no such thing as a “final” exam…if they were they would take you out and shoot you afterward.”

Anyway, the quote may not be exact but it does convey a truth, unless you are living in a country where academic failure is punishable in some way shape or form.  The old Soviet Bloc countries did this well….screw up in Olympic Training Camp and end up picking rotten turnips in a Gulag.  Yummy.

Tomorrow, Tuesday 24 November I take my Comprehensive Exams for my Masters Degree in Military History from American Military University.  It is a venture into the unknown.  In my degree program I performed very well.  I have a 4.0 average in all academic work to this point.  I did very well in Marine Command and Staff College and aced my studies for my Doctor of Ministry. However, this is different, it is one shot, like a World Series appearance.  The rest was regular season stuff, it mattered, but not as much.

The past 7 weeks I have been preparing, unfortunately I really don’t know what for.  The class I believe is taught by the Department Chair, a man from whom I have never taken a course. Thus although I understand the format and expectations I have no earthly idea what he will ask.  I will have to answer four questions in 6 hours.  I’m told that they probably will tie together but it is like going into a game against a pitcher that you have never seen before,  You don’t know his stuff, you don’t know how he works and all you have is your experience and knowledge to face him. As such I am out of my comfort zone with this guy.  In addition I go into the exam at a pretty low point emotionally because of the situation with my parents and just being worn down.  So I will have to dig deep tomorrow to do as well as I want to do.

Despite all of my prior preparation which has included a lot of review and even re-writing of old research papers to put on this site, I am anxious.  My stomach and gastric systems started doing backflips like when I was in California and after my return.  I hardly slept last night and hopefully will not only get to sleep early but actually get some rest before getting an early session of PT in before the exam begins at 0815 and end 6 hours later.  I will be alone with the exam.  A sign will be on my office door warning humanity to stay away.  I can certainly relate to Roger Clemons who said: “If someone met me on a game day, he wouldn’t like me. The days in between, I’m the goodest guy you can find.” For 6 hours tomorrow I will be unlikable.

If I do well I will be celebrating at Gordon Biersch tomorrow night.  If I don’t I will be drowning my sorrows there.  The beer will be the same but the mood a bit different.  It is like Tommy Lasorda once said: “When we win, I’m so happy I eat a lot. When we lose, I’m so depressed, I eat a lot. When we’re rained out, I’m so disappointed I eat a lot.” I can drink happy or sad, I would prefer to celebrate.  It is more fun.

Now I do expect that I will do well.  I want a grade of “Pass With Distinction” versus just a “Pass.”  It will take work and probably drain me as I will not have the time that I normally have to prepare and research my writing.  Heck I take a lot of time to polish what I write here on this site.  I figure if I am lucky that I will have about 65-70 minutes on each question.  I do hope that I can pull it off. But then maybe I need to relax a bit and remember what Bill “Spaceman” Lee said:

“I think about the cosmic snowball theory. A few million years from now the sun will burn out and lose its gravitational pull. The earth will turn into a giant snowball and be hurled through space. When that happens it won’t matter if I get this guy out.”

Maybe I just need to pass the damned thing and get it done with.  Well I need to get ready for bed.  Nothing much more to do. I just gotta go out and do what I’ve worked so long and hard to do. I’ve wanted a Masters in History since my undergrad days. This is for all the marbles.  I hate to lose and will be pissed at me if I do not kick this thing in the ass.  This is my World Series, at least until the next time….Ph.D. anyone?


Padre Steve+


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