Taking Your Prelims Vs. Losing Your Virginity

This morning, I’m waiting for my advisor to send me my PhD preliminary exam questions, and as I wait, I thought I’d show

a) 4 ways how taking the preliminary exams is like having sex for the first time:

  1. There’s a divide between people who’ve gone through with it and those who haven’t. All the advice that the experienced can give you is to “close your eyes and barrel your way through it.”
  2. Before, your entire identity can be summed up as someone hasn’t gone through it. On the other side of the fence, people say it’s now just something they did.
  3. Every now and then, you come across someone who’s experience was magical. They were fully prepared, had everything sorted out, knew exactly what to expect, and might have even had fun. For most people, it seems to have been torture while they were doing it, but at least went by very quickly.
  4. You think you want to be on the other side– very, very badly. When the time is actually close, and the moment is inevitable, you suddenly wish you had just a little while longer.

b) 1 important way that taking the exams is NOT like having sex

  1. You try to do it just once in your life.

6 Responses to Taking Your Prelims Vs. Losing Your Virginity

  1. Kris says:

    Ahh, this reminds me of when I was a wee laddie, and my dad sat me down for the sex talk. “Close your eyes and barrel your way through it” was exactly what he said to me, too! Weird.

    If your prelims turn out to be as much fin as having sex, let me know, and I’ll completely rethink higher education.

  2. Aakaash says:

    I was goiing to make some comment on the orals, but that is too low, even for me. A good analysis Pulao,but you have forgotten the socio-cultural views. Are you, ever, too young to have given your prelims? Can you, conversely, ever make a movie about a 40-year-old who has yet to take his prelims?
    Come to think of it, shouldn’t we be doing something about all this media glamorization of promiscuous exam-taking, not to mention how the candidates are always in such soft focus and accompanied by bad sax when in reality it is a sweaty, frustrating affair?

  3. anirban says:

    Can’t you take your prelims over the phone? Try dialling Kris’s boss….

    Best of luck for the prelims anyway…

  4. Karah says:

    But, no matter how prepared they were, people never get nostalgic for their prelims . . . .

    I’m sending positive energy your way. Also some extra-strength purrs from Teeny and Mister.

  5. Pulao says:

    Hey, thanks for all the wishes! I definitely need it.

    Today is the last day– I have to turn the exam in tomorrow. So, my question is this– the fact that the exam takes this long, is it good or bad re: the sex analogy?

  6. Aakaash says:

    depends on the end result, as always. You know you score in any case, right? BEST OF LUCK!

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