Friday, September 3, 2010

Quant Comp Emergency & Last Minute Minnesota

Tuesday was crazy.

A couple things happened to make this true. First, Jeff and I have been researching wedding venues in Minnesota. We planned a trip for September 17-19 to come out and see venues and make a decision. However, we ended up narrowing it down to a few top picks, and found out that often they only had one of our possible dates still available. And they don't hold dates for more than a couple days, which meant that if we waited two and a half weeks to go to Minnesota, they may already be taken. The other option would be to just make a decision without ever having seen the venues. And that definitely seemed risky too. The other, slightly crazier, option we came up with was to fly to Minnesota that weekend. We looked at Friday to Sunday flights and found that they were around $400, which is a lot. Then we widened the search and found out that flying Wednesday to Sunday was only about $200, which is about as cheap as tickets from DC to Minnesota ever get.

Meanwhile, the reason we originally chose to go to Minnesota Sept. 17-19 and not Sept. 4-6 was that I have two major comprehensive exams - one on Friday, Sept. 10th and another on Monday, Sept. 13th. (In case you don't remember comprehensive exams are the really-important, if-you-fail-twice-you're-out-of-the-PhD-program kind of exams.) The one on Friday is a Microeconomics comprehensive exam. I've been studying for it all summer, and have read the textbook cover to cover. (Though I still have a lot to do - there are other readings and practice tests and all of that.) The test on Friday will be an 8-hour exam that you can do at home.

The one I take on Monday is a Quantitative Analysis Exam, and it's a little different. For that exam, you have to write a paper and then present it to some professors, and then defend it - it's an oral exam. Anyway, I had a paper written from an earlier class that I needed to fix up and use - I had gotten comments back from the professor on changes that need to be made. I'd been thinking about what I wanted to do, but I hadn't made that much progress in fixing it up yet. I was thinking I'd have all of this long weekend and most of next weekend to focus on it. And then I re-read the guidelines. They said that since the exam is on Sept. 13th, we need to turn the paper in on Sept. 1st. Which was Wednesday (and it was Tuesday when I read this). So I went into crazy paper-fixing mode, running regressions, trying different things, analyzing results, etc. Other than taking a short break to go to class, I worked on it non-stop on Tuesday.

At the same time, Jeff and I decided that the best thing to do would be to buy the Wednesday, 6am flights to Minnesota.

So I worked on my paper until about 4:30am, went to the airport, continued working on my paper, slept about an hour or two on the plane, worked on my paper some more, landed in Minnesota, took the light rail to Minneapolis (I love the light rail, by the way, it's so convenient and cool!), and then sat in a Panera for most of the day - working on the paper. In the late afternoon, Jeff and I walked to my Dad's school in Minneapolis (he's a math teacher now, so cool!), and got a ride home with him. Back at my parent's (new!) house, I did one more read-through of my paper to make sure it was polished and ready, and then sent it in.

Like I said, Tuesday (and actually, Wednesday too) was crazy.

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