A request for prayers

As some of you may remember, I took my 6 PhD comprehensive exams last December and passed five. I retook the sixth in June, and must take it for the last time on Fri. December 8th. If the department follows the rules strictly, this exam must be passed on this attempt, or else I’m out of the program.

Consequently, I’ve spent much of my time in the last few months trying to study and prepare, and cut out all my distractions.

To recap, the exam is in Akkadian, the ancient language of Assyria and Babylon. It consists of sight-reading, identifying, and translating three different texts in Akkadian cuneiform without lexicons (though I can use sign-lists.) The texts are unseen (ie. we’ve never covered them in class, though they will be similar) and can come from any time period, script (Old Babylon cursive vs. lapidary vs. Neo-Assyrian script), or genre (letters, contracts, legal texts, historical texts, myths, financial texts.)

The trade-off this time around is that I have a longer time limit, but can’t use lexicons. That works best for me, since my problem is that I read so slowly, not that I can’t remember vocab.

And so, I’m asking that you keep me in your prayers, that I can focus hard on studying during this last month, that I remember what I study, and can adapt to whatever they decide to give me. And pass the darn thing so I can finally move on to the dissertation stage :)

Many thanks.

12 thoughts on “A request for prayers

  1. You’re definitely in my prayers, Ben. Best wishes for a fruitful remaining month of preparation.

  2. Oh, Ben! It won’t make you feel any better, worse probably, but what [your department] is making you do is lame. Most majoring Assyriologists couldn’t manage that. Anyway, good luck to you.

  3. Perhaps.

    The department gives broad leeway to the Prof(s) writing the exam, and these guidelines are fairly standard. I switched exam writers, since the prof. who wrote the last two attempts is strict on the time limit but allows lexicons to a prof. who is much looser on the time limit, but doesn’t allow lexicons. He’ll gloss something if he thinks I can’t realistically be expected to know it. All the time periods and genres are legal because I’ve had classes touching on them at some point during my grad work. In most cases, it was 2-3 years ago, hence my intensive review.

    Also, looking at what texts they gave me on the last exam, they’re really not out to get me. I just suck at Akkadian :)

  4. Ugh.

    I went through comps last year right before Christmas (the week my child was born). You’re definitely in my prayers.

  5. No prob Ben. I think asking for prayers in this instance is more than appropriate. So much work. Odd that after so much success in the other areas, your degree hangs on this one test in this one area.

  6. I’m right in the middle of my own comps too – a written last week, and one next week (I’m currently waffling on attending AAR, as I live in DC, or cramming all weekend).

    Anyway, the point is my oral exam is the same day as your test.

    Props. I’ll say a prayer for you that morning if you’ll say one for me.

  7. Ben,
    I thought that I remembered that you would be taking that test again in December. It sounds like you are very focused. I hope everything goes great for you.

    My little sister takes her Comps in either December or early January for her Master’s Degree. She finished her course work more than the maximum time allowed due to a lot of factors. Now she is having to take another class as it has taken her so long. The class she is taking is in Political Communication and she says it is the most difficult class ever. Plus, she works 40 plus hours a week in a job with deadlines every day. I hate to think of my little sister under so much stress. I think she is supposed to finish her thesis by May.

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