The end of March marked the end to one and a half years of stress and worry over my M.A. comprehensive exams. All of our time spent studying history since we entered the program was tested on a single day, with four typed papers, each of which took 90 minutes. Needless to say, my classmates and I had dreaded what we called "Comps" ever since we were first told they would be a requirement to graduate.
Whenever I would work on wedding planning, I always had this dark little cloud called Comps that would remind me not to get too excited - that there was still a big hurdle in my way before I could sit back, relax and enjoy being a bride. When we sat down at the computers in our campus lab on the morning of the exam, I couldn't believe how anxious I was to open the manilla envelope with the questions I would have to answer. (We had to prepare to answer virtually any question on American History that our professors could throw at us, and not just answer it but to develop a 6-8 page paper about it from memory!)
I had already finished my first paper on "How radical was the American Revolution? Consider the point of view of revolutionaries and disenfranchised groups, and explain how historians have disagreed over time" and was half way through with my second paper on "How has academic theory and architectural history intersected (or not) with applied historic preservation? What are the historical and historiographical roots of intersection and/or division between academics and preservationists?" when ....
THE POWER. WENT. OUT.
Can you believe it?! We had prepared for literally almost YEARS for this exam and nearly halfway through the power in our computer lab went out. For a split-second we all (about 30 of us) sat in darkness, as gasps broke what had been a constant sound of typing. In the end, about half the class had lost their papers (campus computer labs delete all files when restarted) - thank the good Lord I was given the foresight to email myself a copy just in case something happened! *Whew!* It was traumatic to say the least, but when I walked out those doors I was a free woman!! :) Hooray!!!
I still have my big paper to work on, and a presentation at the end of April but I feel so relieved to be finished with that exam. :) I've already ordered my rehearsal dinner gown to celebrate! Now it's off to Charleston on Friday to try on the wedding gown I ordered for the first time! No more sample try-ons! This time she's all mine! I can't wait!