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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Master To Do List: Revisited

A while ago I posted a "big" to do list of major things that need to be done in my life.

Here's my progress so far:
  • Get a mortgage modification or refinance to a lower rate
  • Get a second opinion about my cardiac episode
  • Reapply for life insurance
  • Get Dave to go to the dentist
  • Find a nanny or day care for Eddie before the end of December 2009
  • Get Eddie a passport (we're going to France in April!)

  • Get Dave to go to the eye doctor
  • Formalize a hypothesis for my graduate research and come up with a formal plan for finishing said research
  • Take my qualifying exam
  • Finish graduate school by the end of winter quarter 2012
I'm starting to feel ready to start thinking about planning my quals...we'll see. My program (or any program I've heard of here at UCD) doesn't require students to do a public defense of their dissertation in order to be awarded the Ph.D. (leading people like my dad to argue that it isn't a "real" Ph.D. in that case...whatever!).

So since the oral qualifying exam is the only tortuous rite of passage for us graduate students, we all dread it. People worry themselves sick and usually end up studying WAY too much. There's a professor in my department that recommends the 6-6-6 rule for preparation: no more than 6 hours a day, 6 days a week, for 6 weeks before the exam. Any more than that and you'll start to forget everything.

My prof treats the exam as a simple technicality--he doesn't understand why students get so worked up about it. Not having taken it yet (gulp) I can't argue with him. Every time one of our labmates starts freaking out about their exam he says, "it isn't that big a deal." I'm glad to hear him say that because other professors probably think the same thing. To them it is just another meeting and commitment they have to cram into their busy schedules.

Anyway, since no one is pushing me to get it done, I'm not going to worry much about it right now. I'd rather have some data to present at my exam instead of just my proposal.

Other things I need to add to this "big" list are:
  • Shop around for a new local bank--I'm not happy with BofA for reasons that are specific to living in Davis, but we want to make sure to get the same "perks" at whatever new bank we go to (free checks and safe deposit box, to name a few). And we're hoping for a $50-100 bonus when we sign up for an account.
  • Figure out what to do about my broken wedding ring. We got quotes from the local jeweler for completely remaking the ring (reusing the stones but not the metal) or just reworking the existing ring to suit my needs better. We're not sure how much--if any--money we want to commit to this right now...but since we don't know for sure what our financial situation will be in say, 10 years, we aren't comfortable tossing the ring in the safe deposit box and doing it later. In 10 years we could have more kids and therefore more expenses--health insurance, college savings, preschool and daycare tuition, etc. really add up.
  • Find a new tenant. Arek moved out and we've had some temporary folks in there since then. I've offered to a new post doc who is coming from Brazil but he's not sure he wants to live with a family (I don't blame him!).
  • Go to the eye doctor.
  • Make a "real" budget for groceries and other consumables and STICK TO IT.
  • Become a Master Food Preserver through the UC Extension system

1 comment:

Kelly said...

One good motivator for finishing your qualifying exam: when you are advanced to candidacy, you get paid more $$$ :D

And good luck sticking to the budget, I am never successful with that!