As it turned out... that one question I had for my 3rd qualifying exam? Ugh! That was torture. It went something like this: How do you explain broad host range pathogenicity and limitation of host range in plant pathogenic fungi? Yuck! And my answer is... evolution. Somehow I didn't think that would be quite enough to pass the exam. I was supposed to finish the exam before I left for warmer and greener pastures for the break, but sadly, one kid after the other got sick, and then everything spiraled out of control.
I had to ask for an extension of the one week I was given for the exam. That wasn't a problem, luckily, the professor didn't mind. The bad part about that was that I had to take the exam with me on vacation. Not a good idea. Try writing a qualifying exam, when the only internet access you have available is dial-up at 28 kb/s, and when your main goal in life is to eat breakfast twice, lunch twice, dinner twice, and then go out for drinks and fun. Eventually I figured out that if I went to my aunt who lives a few doors down from my parental home, I could catch someone's wireless signal. Strangely this wasn't password protected, so I sat in my aunt's kitchen and downloaded a bunch of papers, to go home, and work on the exam there.
Between good food, drinks, friends, family activities, parties, and hanging out with P1, I didn't do much, and I ultimately turned in a mediocre, but hopefully just barely-good-enough-to-pass exam. It took me another week or so after I had gotten there to finish it up. If I pass, I'll post a cleaned-up version of my response for those who are interested in plant path.
I'm expecting my next exam either today or Monday. I'm hoping it'll be Monday, so that I have the weekend to clean up the house. Still a big mess after our trip.
A delicate exercise
14 hours ago