Preparing for Comprehensive Exams Part 2 | Post 39

By Rachael Kroot, April 2014

"The carefree undergrads played frisbee on the beach while we grad students watched wistfully from above and kept at our work."

Just a few days to go before I start my written comprehensive exam, so what's the logical thing to do? Take a weekend trip to the beach, of course!

Now, it's not what you're thinking. I was not being completely irresponsible and forgetting that study list I made a few weeks ago. As timing would have it, I registered to go to a student conference along the Alabama coast before my exam dates were set.

Priorities? Of course comps come first. I considered backing out of the conference, but I had been looking forward to it for a while... so when I made my study list, I just took a weekend away into account.

Remember, I don't study according to a strict schedule. That means by the time I was packing for the beach/conference, I was a few subjects behind where I ideally wanted to be.

The solution? Spend even more time at the beach! Instead of going to the first day of the conference (which was in fact about 45 minutes from our condo), I stayed home and studied on the balcony with a few thesis friends. The carefree undergrads played frisbee on the beach while we grad students watched wistfully from above and kept at our work.

I've got to say though, atmosphere can be everything when you're trying to get your mind to focus. The sunshine and crashing waves were so wonderfully happy and peaceful that studying didn't feel like much of a burden. I can't necessarily say I got more work done than I would have at home, but I was definitely happier doing it. And that's worth something, isn't it?

The next day I did attend the conference, but I brought my notes to study during the talks I wasn't particularly interested in. I got all the way through my Physical Meteorology notes, which is more of an accomplishment than it sounds.

I allowed myself a break that night to have fun with my friends on the beach. Overall, the trip was some much needed soul-work. I had been driving myself crazy with stress, and sometimes letting yourself laugh is the most important thing you can do! Hopefully it pays off and I am still prepared for my exams. We will find out soon enough!

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About the Author: Rachael Kroot has a B.S. in Geography from the University of Maryland and is currently attending graduate school for broadcast meteorology.

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